The preparation and purification of an active monoiodo derivative of apamin is described. Radiolabeled monoiodoapamin (2000 Ci/mmol) binds specifically to rat brain synaptosomes at 0 degrees C and pH 7.5 with a second order rate constant of association (ka = 2.6 x 10(7) M-1 s-1) and a first order rate constant of dissociation (kd = 3.8 x 10(-4) s-1). The maximal binding capacity is 12.5 fmol/mg of protein and the dissociation constant is 15-25 pM for the monoiodo derivative and 10 pM for the native toxin. The apamin receptor is destroyed by proteases suggesting that it is of a proteic nature. Neurotensin and its COOH-terminal partial sequences are the only molecules unrelated to apamin that are able to displace monoiodoapamin from its receptor at low concentrations. Half-displacement occurs at 170 nM neurotensin. This property is due to the presence in the COOH-terminal sequence of neurotensin of two contiguous arginine residues, a structure analogous to that of the apamin active site. The binding of monoiodoapamin to its receptor is sensitive to cations. Increasing K+ or Rb+ concentrations from 10 microM to 5 mM selectively enhances the binding by a factor of 1.8. Increasing the concentration of any cation from 1 to 100 mM completely inhibits iodoapamin binding. Both effects are due to a cation-induced modulation of the affinity of monoidoapamin for its receptor without any change of the maximal toxin binding capacity of synaptosomes. Guanidinium and molecules containing a guanidinium group are better inhibitors of iodoapamin binding than other inorganic cations or positively charged organic molecules.
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