Bidirectional allosteric modulation of strychnine-sensitive glycine receptors by tropeines and 5-HT3 serotonin receptor ligands

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Specific binding of [3H]strychnine was studied on membranes prepared from rat spinal cord. Several antagonists and agonists of 5-HT3 receptors and tropane derivatives displaced [3H]strychnine binding with micromolar potencies. In the presence of 10 μM glycine a high affinity (nanomolar) component of displacement was also observed for the tropeines zatosetron, bemesetron and tropisetron. The displacing potency of glycine was also enhanced by these agents which are therefore termed glycine-positive. In contrast, atropine, SR 57227A, m-chlorophenylbiguanide, metoclopramide and granisetron are termed glycine-negative, because they decreased the displacing potency of glycine while glycine decreased the displacing potencies of atropine and metoclopramide. The dissociation of [3H]strychnine binding was accelerated in the presence of m-chlorophenylbiguanide, SR 57227A, atropine and zatosetron with a concentration dependence (EC50 values and Hill slopes) similar to their displacing effects. This demonstrates that the displacement of strychnine binding is associated with allosteric interactions between different binding sites. Structure-activity analysis revealed that the tropeine structure is essential for high affinity binding, and its substitutions (in scopolamine and cocaine) or its replacement (in ondansetron and metoclopramide) strongly decrease the potency and/or efficacy of allosteric modulation. High affinity modulatory sites for tropeines appear to be associated with the potentiation of ionophore function, but distinct from the low affinity channel blocking sites as well as from the binding sites of strychnine and glycine. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1633-1641
Number of pages9
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1998



  • 5-HT receptor ligands
  • Allosteric modulation
  • Dissociation of strychnine
  • Glycine receptor-ionophore complex
  • Strychnine binding
  • Tropeines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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