Alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptor bound to epibatidine

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 2.30 Å
  • Aggregation State: PARTICLE 
  • Reconstruction Method: SINGLE PARTICLE 

wwPDB Validation   3D Report Full Report

This is version 1.2 of the entry. See complete history


Structural mechanisms of alpha 7 nicotinic receptor allosteric modulation and activation.

Burke, S.M.Avstrikova, M.Noviello, C.M.Mukhtasimova, N.Changeux, J.P.Thakur, G.A.Sine, S.M.Cecchini, M.Hibbs, R.E.

(2024) Cell 187: 1160-1176.e21

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2024.01.032
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  
    8UT1, 8UTB, 8UZJ, 8V80, 8V82, 8V86, 8V88, 8V89, 8V8A, 8V8C, 8V8D

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is a pentameric ligand-gated ion channel that plays an important role in cholinergic signaling throughout the nervous system. Its unique physiological characteristics and implications in neurological disorders and inflammation make it a promising but challenging therapeutic target. Positive allosteric modulators overcome limitations of traditional α7 agonists, but their potentiation mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we present high-resolution structures of α7-modulator complexes, revealing partially overlapping binding sites but varying conformational states. Structure-guided functional and computational tests suggest that differences in modulator activity arise from the stable rotation of a channel gating residue out of the pore. We extend the study using a time-resolved cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM) approach to reveal asymmetric state transitions for this homomeric channel and also find that a modulator with allosteric agonist activity exploits a distinct channel-gating mechanism. These results define mechanisms of α7 allosteric modulation and activation with implications across the pentameric receptor superfamily.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    Molecular Biophysics Graduate Program, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA; Department of Neurobiology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
Neuronal acetylcholine receptor subunit alpha-7,Soluble cytochrome b562 fusion
A, B, C, D, E
599Homo sapiensEscherichia coliMutation(s): 0 
Gene Names: CHRNA7NACHRA7cybC
Membrane Entity: Yes 
UniProt & NIH Common Fund Data Resources
Find proteins for P0ABE7 (Escherichia coli)
Explore P0ABE7 
Go to UniProtKB:  P0ABE7
Find proteins for P36544 (Homo sapiens)
Explore P36544 
Go to UniProtKB:  P36544
PHAROS:  P36544
GTEx:  ENSG00000175344 
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupsP36544P0ABE7
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence


Entity ID: 2
MoleculeChains Length2D Diagram Glycosylation3D Interactions
F, H, J, L, N
Glycosylation Resources
GlyTouCan:  G15407YE
GlyCosmos:  G15407YE
GlyGen:  G15407YE
Entity ID: 3
MoleculeChains Length2D Diagram Glycosylation3D Interactions
G, I, K, M, O
Glycosylation Resources
GlyTouCan:  G42666HT
GlyCosmos:  G42666HT
GlyGen:  G42666HT
Small Molecules
Ligands 5 Unique
IDChains Name / Formula / InChI Key2D Diagram3D Interactions
Query on POV

Download Ideal Coordinates CCD File 
AA [auth B]
DA [auth C]
GA [auth C]
HA [auth C]
KA [auth D]
AA [auth B],
DA [auth C],
GA [auth C],
HA [auth C],
KA [auth D],
NA [auth D],
OA [auth D],
R [auth A],
RA [auth E],
S [auth A],
UA [auth E],
V [auth A],
VA [auth E],
W [auth B],
Z [auth B]
(2S)-3-(hexadecanoyloxy)-2-[(9Z)-octadec-9-enoyloxy]propyl 2-(trimethylammonio)ethyl phosphate
C42 H82 N O8 P
Query on 9Z9

Download Ideal Coordinates CCD File 
BA [auth B],
IA [auth C],
PA [auth D],
T [auth A],
WA [auth E]
C34 H56 O5
Query on NAG

Download Ideal Coordinates CCD File 
FA [auth C],
MA [auth D],
Q [auth A],
TA [auth E],
Y [auth B]
C8 H15 N O6
EPJ (Subject of Investigation/LOI)
Query on EPJ

Download Ideal Coordinates CCD File 
CA [auth B],
JA [auth C],
QA [auth D],
U [auth A],
XA [auth E]
C11 H13 Cl N2
Query on CA

Download Ideal Coordinates CCD File 
EA [auth C],
LA [auth D],
P [auth A],
SA [auth E],
X [auth B]
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 2.30 Å
  • Aggregation State: PARTICLE 
  • Reconstruction Method: SINGLE PARTICLE 
EM Software:
TaskSoftware PackageVersion

Structure Validation

View Full Validation Report

Entry History & Funding Information

Deposition Data

Funding OrganizationLocationGrant Number
National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH/NINDS)United StatesNS120496

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2024-02-21
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2024-02-28
    Changes: Database references
  • Version 1.2: 2024-03-13
    Changes: Database references