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The distances between the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3))-binding sites of tetrameric IP(3) receptors were probed using dimers of IP(3) linked by poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) molecules of differing lengths (1-8 nm). Each of the dimers potently stimulated (45)Ca(2+) release from permeabilized cells expressing predominantly type 1 (SH-SY5Y cells) or type 2 (hepatocytes) IP(3) receptors. The shortest dimers, with PEG linkers of an effective length of 1.5 nm or less, were the most potent, being 3-4-fold more potent than IP(3). In radioligand binding experiments using cerebellar membranes, the shortest dimers bound with highest affinity, although the longest dimer (8 nm) also bound with almost 4-fold greater affinity than IP(3). The affinity of monomeric IP(3) with only the PEG attached was 2-fold weaker than IP(3), confirming that the increased affinity of the dimers requires the presence of both IP(3) motifs. The increased affinity of the long dimer probably results from the linked IP(3) molecules binding to sites on different receptors, because the dimer bound with greater affinity than IP(3) to cerebellar membranes, where receptors are densely packed, but with the same affinity as IP(3) to purified receptors. IP(3) and the IP(3) dimers, irrespective of their length, bound with similar affinity to a monomeric IP(3)-binding domain of the type 1 IP(3) receptor expressed in bacteria. Short dimers therefore bind with increased affinity only when the receptor is tetrameric. We conclude that the four IP(3)-binding sites of an IP(3) receptor may be separated by as little as 1.5 nm and are therefore likely to be placed centrally in this large (25 x 25 nm) structure, consistent with previous work indicating a close association between the central pore and the IP(3)-binding sites of the IP(3) receptor.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





40290 - 40295


Animals, Binding Sites, Calcium Channels, Cell Line, Dimerization, Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate, Inositol 1,4,5-Trisphosphate Receptors, Polyethylene Glycols, Protein Binding, Rats, Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear