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Measuring relative acetylcholine receptor agonist binding by selective proton nuclear magnetic resonance relaxation experiments.

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Abstract

A method is presented that uses selective proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) relaxation measurements of nicotine in the presence of the acetylcholine receptor to obtain relative binding constants for acetylcholine, carbamylcholine, and muscarine. For receptors from Torpedo californica the results show that (a) the binding constants are in the order acetylcholine greater than nicotine greater than carbamylcholine greater than muscarine; (b) selective NMR measurements provide a rapid and direct method for monitoring both the specific and nonspecific binding of agonists to these receptors and to the lipid; (c) alpha-bungarotoxin can be used to distinguish between specific and nonspecific binding to the receptor; (d) the receptor--substrate interaction causes a large change in the selective relaxation time of the agonists even at concentrations 100x greater than that of the receptor. This last observation means that these measurements provide a rapid method to monitor drug binding when only small amounts of receptor are available. Furthermore, the binding strategies presented here may be useful for the NMR determination of the conformation of the ligand in its bound state.

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