Skip to content

Mapping the binding site of the P2X receptor antagonist PPADS reveals the importance of orthosteric site charge and the cysteine-rich head region

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Early online date11 Jul 2018
DateAccepted/In press - 10 Jul 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 11 Jul 2018


ATP is the native agonist for cell-surface ligand-gated P2X receptor (P2XR) cation channels. The seven mammalian subunits (P2X1-7) form homo- and heterotrimeric P2XRs having significant physiological and pathophysiological roles. Pyridoxalphosphate-6-azophenyl-2',4'-disulfonic acid (PPADS) is an effective antagonist at most mammalian P2XRs. A Lys-249 residue in the extracellular domain of P2XR has previously been shown to contribute to PPADS' action. To map this antagonist site, here we generated human P2X1R cysteine substitutions within a region at Lys-249 (within a radius of 13 Å equal to the length of PPADS). We hypothesized that cysteine substitutions of residues involved in PPADS binding would (i) reduce cysteine accessibility (measured by MTSEA-biotinylation), (ii) exhibit altered PPADS affinity, and (iii) quench the fluorescence of cysteine residues modified with MTS-TAMRA. Of the 26 residues tested, these criteria were met by only four (K70, D170, K190, and K249), defining the antagonist site, validating molecular docking results, and thereby providing the first experimentally supported model of PPADS binding. This binding site overlapped with the ATP-binding site, indicating that PPADS sterically blocks agonist access. Moreover, PPADS induced a conformational change at the cysteine-rich head (CRH) region adjacent to the orthosteric ATP-binding pocket. The importance of this movement was confirmed by demonstrating that a substitution introducing a positive charge present in the CRH of hP2X1R causes PPADS sensitivity at the normally insensitive rat P2X4R. This study provides a template for developing P2XR subtype selectivity based on the differences among the mammalian subunits around the orthosteric P2XR binding site and the CRH.



View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups