The Sulfated Steroids Pregnenolone Sulfate and Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Inhibit the a1b3c2L GABAA Receptor by Stabilizing a Novel Nonconducting State

Spencer R. Pierce, Allison L. Germann, Joe Henry Steinbach, Gustav Akk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

The GABAA receptor is inhibited by the endogenous sulfated steroids pregnenolone sulfate (PS) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS). It has been proposed in previous work that these steroids act by enhancing desensitization of the receptor. Here, we have investigated the modulatory effects of the steroids on the human a1b3c2L GABAA receptor. Using electrophysiology and quantitative model-based data analysis, we show that exposure to the steroid promotes occupancy of a nonconducting state that retains high affinity to the transmitter but whose properties differ from those of the classic, transmitter-induced desensitized state. From the analysis of the inhibitory actions of two combined steroids, we infer that PS and DHEAS act through shared or overlapping binding sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-77
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Volume101
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

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