Direct interaction of the resistance to inhibitors of cholinesterase type 3 protein with the serotonin receptor type 3A intracellular domain

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Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGIC) are expressed in both excitable and non-excitable cells that are targeted by numerous clinically used drugs. Assembly from five identical or homologous subunits yields homo- or heteromeric pentamers, respectively. The protein known as Resistance to Inhibitors of Cholinesterase (RIC-3) was identified to interfere with assembly and functional maturation of pLGICs. We have shown previously for serotonin type 3A homopentamers (5-HT3A) that the interaction with RIC-3 requires the intracellular domain (ICD) of this pLGIC. After expression in Xenopus laevis oocytes RIC-3 attenuated serotonin-induced currents in 5-HT3A wild-type channels, but not in functional 5-HT3AglvM3M4 channels that have the 115-amino acid ICD replaced by a heptapeptide. In complementary experiments we have shown that engineering the Gloeobacter violaceus ligand-gated ion channel (GLIC) to contain the 5-HT3A-ICD confers sensitivity to RIC-3 in oocytes to otherwise insensitive GLIC. In this study, we identify endogenous RIC-3 protein expression in X. laevis oocytes. We purified RIC-3 to homogeneity after expression in Echericia coli. By using heterologously over-expressed and purified RIC-3 and the chimera consisting of the 5-HT3A-ICD and the extracellular and transmembrane domains of GLIC in pull-down experiments, we demonstrate a direct and specific interaction between the two proteins. This result further underlines that the domain within 5-HT3AR that mediates the interaction with RIC-3 is the ICD. Importantly, this is the first experimental evidence that the interaction between 5-HT3AR-ICD and RIC-3 does not require other proteins. In addition, we demonstrate that the pentameric assembly of the GLIC-5-HT3A-ICD chimera interacts with RIC-3.

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