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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

The Impact of Sub-Cellular Location and Intracellular Neuronal Proteins on Properties of GABAA Receptors

Author(s): Bryndis Birnir and Esa R. Korpi

Volume 13, Issue 31, 2007

Page: [3169 - 3177] Pages: 9

DOI: 10.2174/138161207782341330

Price: $65


Most studies of GABAA receptor accessory proteins have focused on trafficking, clustering and phosphorylation state of the channel-forming subunits and as a result a number of proteins and mechanisms have been identified that can influence the GABAA channel expression and function in the cell plasma membrane. In the light of a growing list of intracellular and transmembrane neuronal proteins shown to affect the fate, function and pharmacology of the GABAA receptors in neurons, the concept of what constitutes the native GABAA receptor complex may need to be re-examined. It is perhaps more appropriate to consider the associated proteins or some of them to be parts of the receptor channel complex in the capacity of ancillary proteins. Here we highlight some of the effects the intracellular environment has on the GABA-activated channel function and pharmacology. The studies demonstrate the need for co-expression of accessory proteins with the GABAA channel-forming subunits in heterologous expression systems in order to obtain the full repertoire of GABAA receptors characteristics recorded in the native neuronal environment. Further studies e.g. on gene-modified animal models are needed for most of the accessory proteins to establish their significance in normal physiology and in pathophysiology of neurological and psychiatric diseases. The challenge remains to elucidate the effects that the accessory proteins and processes (e.g. phosphorylation) plus the sub-cellular location have on the “fine-tuning” of the functional and pharmacological properties of the GABAA receptor channels.

Keywords: four transmembrane regions, conductance, GABA binding site, neurodegeneration, synaptic receptors

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