Skip to content

Identification of the Initial Steps in Signal Transduction in the α4β2 Nicotinic Receptor: Insights from Equilibrium and Nonequilibrium Simulations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1183.e3
Number of pages17
Issue number7
Early online date23 Apr 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Apr 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print - 23 Apr 2019
DatePublished (current) - 2 Jul 2019


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) modulate synaptic transmission in the nervous system. These receptors have emerged as therapeutic targets in drug discovery for treating several conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, pain, and nicotine addiction. In this in silico study, we use a combination of equilibrium and nonequilibrium molecular dynamics simulations to map dynamic and structural changes induced by nicotine in the human α4β2 nAChR. They reveal a striking pattern of communication between the extracellular binding pockets and the transmembrane domains (TMDs) and show the sequence of conformational changes associated with the initial steps in this process. We propose a general mechanism for signal transduction for Cys-loop receptors: the mechanistic steps for communication proceed firstly through loop C in the principal subunit, and are subsequently transmitted, gradually and cumulatively, to loop F of the complementary subunit, and then to the TMDs through the M2-M3 linker.

    Research areas

  • conformational changes, Cys-loop receptor, MD simulations, nicotine binding, nicotinic receptor



  • Full-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Cell Press at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 5.53 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 23/05/20

    Request copy

    Licence: CC BY-NC-ND


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups