Vibrational analysis of acetylcholine binding to the M2 receptor†
The M2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M2R) is a prototypical G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that responds to acetylcholine (ACh) and mediates various cellular responses in the nervous system. We recently established Attenuated Total Reflection-Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy for ligand binding to M2R reconstituted in lipid membranes, paving the way to understand the mechanism in atomic detail. However, the obtained difference FTIR spectra upon ligand binding contained ligand, protein, lipid, and water signals, so a vibrational assignment was needed for a thorough understanding. In the present study, we compared difference FTIR spectra between unlabeled and 2-13C labeled ACh, and assigned the bands at 1741 and 1246 cm−1 as the CO and C–O stretches of ACh, respectively. The CO stretch of ACh in M2R is close to that in aqueous solution (1736 cm−1), and much lower in frequency than the free CO stretch (1778–1794 cm−1), indicating a strong hydrogen bond, which probably formed with N4046.52. We propose that a water molecule bridges ACh and N4046.52. The other ACh terminal is positively charged, and it interacts with negatively charged D1033.32. The present study revealed that D1033.32 is deprotonated (negatively charged) in both ACh-bound and free states, a suggested mechanism to stabilize the negative charge of D1033.32 in the free M2R.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2021 RSC Advances HOT Article Collection