Format of Original
National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Original Item ID
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0806257105, PubMed Central: PMC2602604
The current understanding about ethanol effects on the ligand-gated ion channel (LGIC) superfamily has been restricted to identify potential binding sites within transmembrane (TM) domains in the Cys-loop family. Here, we demonstrate a key role of the TM3–4 intracellular loop and Gβγ signaling for potentiation of glycine receptors (GlyRs) by ethanol. We discovered 2 motifs within the large intracellular loop of the GlyR α1 subunit that are critical for the actions of pharmacological concentrations of ethanol. Significantly, the sites were ethanol-specific because they did not alter the sensitivity to general anesthetics, neurosteroids, or longer n-alcohols. Furthermore, Gβγ scavengers selectively attenuated the ethanol effects on recombinant and native neuronal GlyRs.These results show a selective mechanism for low-ethanol concentration effects on the GlyR and provide a mechanism on ethanol pharmacology, which may be applicable to other LGIC members. Moreover, these data provide an opportunity to develop new genetically modified animal models and novel drugs to treat alcohol-related medical concerns.