Thioflavin T Is a Fluorescent Probe of the Acetylcholinesterase Peripheral Site That Reveals Conformational Interactions between the Peripheral and Acylation Sites

Giancarlo V. De Ferrari, William D. Mallender, Nibaldo C. Inestrosa, Terrone L. Rosenberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three-dimensional structures of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) reveal a narrow and deep active site gorge with two sites of ligand binding, an acylation site at the base of the gorge, and a peripheral site near the gorge entrance. Recent studies have shown that the peripheral site contributes to catalytic efficiency by transiently binding substrates on their way to the acylation site, but the question of whether the peripheral site makes other contributions to the catalytic process remains open. A possible role for ligand binding to the peripheral site that has long been considered is the initiation of a conformational change that is transmitted allosterically to the acylation site to alter catalysis. However, evidence for conformational interactions between these sites has been difficult to obtain. Here we report that thioflavin T, a fluorophore widely used to detect amyloid structure in proteins, binds selectively to the AChE peripheral site with an equilibrium dissociation constant of 1.0 μM. The fluorescence of the bound thioflavin T is increased more than 1000-fold over that of unbound thioflavin T, the greatest enhancement of fluorescence for the binding of a fluorophore to AChE yet observed. Furthermore, when the acylation site ligands edrophonium or m-(N, N,N-trimethylammonio)trifluoroacetophenone form ternary complexes with AChE and thioflavin T, the fluorescence is quenched by factors of 2.7-4.2. The observation of this partial quenching of thioflavin T fluorescence is a major advance in the study of AChE for two reasons. First, it allows thioflavin T to be used as a reporter for ligand reactions at the acylation site. Second, it indicates that ligand binding to the acylation site initiates a change in the local AChE conformation at the peripheral site that quenches the fluorescence of bound thioflavin T. The data provide strong evidence in support of a conformational interaction between the two AChE sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23282-23287
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume276
Issue number26
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Thioflavin T Is a Fluorescent Probe of the Acetylcholinesterase Peripheral Site That Reveals Conformational Interactions between the Peripheral and Acylation Sites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this