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Structural studies of the 5-HT3 receptor

Abstract : Cys-loop receptors are pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGIC), which play a crucial role in rapid neurotransmission. They are the targets of a legion of drugs (antiemetics, general anesthetics, benzodiazepines, smoke cessation drugs, etc.) and their physiological properties are intensively studied. When pLGICs bind neurotransmitters, they undergo conformational changes, from a resting closed-pore state to a transient open-pore state; they can also enter a ligand-bound, closed-pore, desensitized state. Moreover, the gating properties of pLGICs can be influenced by a variety of compounds (e.g. lipids, competitive inhibitors, allosteric modulators, ions such as Ca2+), which makes them flexible receptors capable of integrating different signals into conformational changes.In this thesis we focus on structural studies of the mouse serotonin type 3 receptor (m5-HT3R). The first structure of the m5-HT3R, obtained by X-ray crystallography using stabilizing nanobodies, was a closed-pore inhibited conformation {Hassaine:2014de}. As a follow-up, we aimed to obtain structures of the m5-HT3R in other conformations, in order to elucidate its gating mechanism. For this purpose we used both X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy and thus the whole thesis follows two story-lines.A general introduction of the pLGIC family is followed by a detailed structural description of the m5-HT3R. In the results section, we present the optimized protocol for the receptor purification, we report that limiting diffraction is a bottleneck in the crystallographic trials and we emphasize limits met using nanobodies for conformational stabilization of the receptor. In the electron microscopy results part we present the optimization of the sample and grid preparation that ultimately permitted data collection. We report four different structures representing distinct functional states of the m5-HT3R: an inhibited tropisetron-bound closed conformation, an open-pore state and a putative pre-active state obtained in the presence of serotonin, and finally a closely-related putative pre-active state in the presence of serotonin and of the allosteric modulator TMPPAA. We compare our data with structures of the same receptor obtained by other laboratory.It was shown for the first time in our work how the antagonist (tropisetron) and the neurotransmitter (serotonin) bind to the full-length m5-HT3R. And our structures deepen the knowledge of the receptor's gating mechanism.
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Lucie Polovinkin. Structural studies of the 5-HT3 receptor. Biomolecules [q-bio.BM]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019GREAV028⟩. ⟨tel-02465109⟩

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