Characterization of γ‐Aminobutyric Acid‐Benzodiazepine Receptor Complexes by Protection Against Inactivation by Group‐Specific Reagents

Gabor Maksay, Maharaj K. Ticku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Abstract: The chemical topography of the γ‐aminobutyric acid (GABA) and benzodiazepine (BZ) receptors was investigated in a thoroughly washed cortical membrane preparation of the rat. Chemical modification by several amino‐ and tyrosyl‐selective reagents and the protection from it by direct and allosteric ligands of the GABA‐BZ receptor complex were used to identify the residues at the binding sites. Inhibition of specific GABA binding by p‐diazobenzenesulfonic acid (DSA), tetrani‐tromethane (TNM), and N‐acetylimidazole and the selective and complete protection from it by GABA and muscimol suggest the presence of a tyrosine residue at the GABAA site. TNM, like DSA, selectively decreased the number of the low‐affinity GABA receptors, and this could be completely protected only by GABA concentrations that can saturate the low‐affinity sites. TNM pre‐treatment also abolished the muscimol enhancement of [3H]diazepam binding, which suggests that the low‐affinity GABA receptor sites are responsible for this enhancement. Inhibition of GABA binding by pyridoxal‐5‐phosphate (PLP) and the selective protection by GABA and muscimol support the presence of a lysine residue at the GABAA receptor site. Complete and selective protection from diethylpyrocarbonate (DEP) inhibition of [3H]diazepam binding by flurazepam suggests the presence of a histidine residue at the BZ site. Flurazepam selectively protected from inhibition of [3H]diazepam binding by N‐bromosuccinimide and N‐acetylimidazole, but not that by DSA and TNM, which does not allow a unanimous conclusion regarding the presence of tyrosine or tryptophan residues at the BZ site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1715-1727
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1984
Externally publishedYes


  • Allosteric modulators
  • Chemical modification
  • GABA‐benzodiazepine receptor complex
  • Group‐specific reagents
  • Protection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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