Human adult muscle-type acetylcholine receptors are heteropentameric ion channels formed from two α-subunits, and one each of the β-, d-, and e-subunits. To form functional channels, the subunits must assemble with one another in a precise stoichiometry and arrangement. Despite being different, the four subunits share a common ancestor that is presumed to have formed homopentamers. The extent to which the properties of the modern-day receptor result from its subunit complexity is unknown. Here we discover that a reconstructed ancestral muscle-type β-subunit can form homopentameric ion channels. These homopentamers open spontaneously and display single-channel hallmarks of muscle-type acetylcholine receptor activity. Our findings attest to the homopentameric origin of the muscle-type acetylcholine receptor, and demonstrate that signature features of its function are both independent of agonist and do not necessitate the complex heteropentameric architecture of the modern-day protein.
All data generated and analysed during this study are included in the manuscript and as source data
- Corrie JB daCosta
- Corrie JB daCosta
- Christian JG Tessier
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Stephan A Pless, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
© 2022, Tessier et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The lissencephaly 1 protein, LIS1, is mutated in type-1 lissencephaly and is a key regulator of cytoplasmic dynein-1. At a molecular level, current models propose that LIS1 activates dynein by relieving its autoinhibited form. Previously we reported a 3.1 Å structure of yeast dynein bound to Pac1, the yeast homologue of LIS1, which revealed the details of their interactions (Gillies et al., 2022). Based on this structure, we made mutations that disrupted these interactions and showed that they were required for dynein’s function in vivo in yeast. We also used our yeast dynein-Pac1 structure to design mutations in human dynein to probe the role of LIS1 in promoting the assembly of active dynein complexes. These mutations had relatively mild effects on dynein activation, suggesting that there may be differences in how dynein and Pac1/LIS1 interact between yeast and humans. Here, we report cryo-EM structures of human dynein-LIS1 complexes. Our new structures reveal the differences between the yeast and human systems, provide a blueprint to disrupt the human dynein-LIS1 interactions more accurately, and map type-1 lissencephaly disease mutations, as well as mutations in dynein linked to malformations of cortical development/intellectual disability, in the context of the dynein-LIS1 complex.
The force-from-lipids hypothesis of cellular mechanosensation posits that membrane channels open and close in response to changes in the physical state of the lipid bilayer, induced for example by lateral tension. Here, we investigate the molecular basis for this transduction mechanism by studying the mechanosensitive ion channel MscS from Escherichia coli and its eukaryotic homolog, MSL1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. First, we use single-particle cryo-EM to determine the structure of a novel open conformation of wild-type MscS, stabilized in a thinned lipid nanodisc. Compared with the closed state, the structure shows a reconfiguration of helices TM1, TM2 and TM3a, and widening of the central pore. Based on these structures, we examined how the morphology of the lipid bilayer is altered upon gating, using molecular dynamics simulations. The simulations reveal that closed-state MscS causes drastic protrusions in the inner leaflet of the lipid bilayer, both in the absence and presence of lateral tension, and for different lipid compositions. These deformations arise to provide adequate solvation to hydrophobic features of the protein surface in this conformation, and clearly reflect a high energy conformation for the membrane, particularly under tension. Strikingly, these protrusions are largely eradicated upon channel opening. An analogous computational study of open and closed MSL1 recapitulates these findings. The gating equilibrium of MscS channels thus appears to be dictated by two opposing conformational preferences, namely those of the lipid membrane and of the protein structure. We propose a membrane deformation model of mechanosensation, which posits that tension shifts the gating equilibrium towards the conductive state not because it alters the mode in which channel and lipids interact but because it increases the energetic cost of the morphological perturbations in the membrane induced by to the closed state.