Publications by authors named "Gudrun Albrecht"

2 Publications

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The unique pharmacology of the scorpion alpha-like toxin Lqh3 is associated with its flexible C-tail.

FEBS J 2007 Apr 9;274(8):1918-31. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

Department of Plant Sciences, George S.Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The affinity of scorpion alpha-toxins for various voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s) differs considerably despite similar structures and activities. It has been proposed that key bioactive residues of the five-residue-turn (residues 8-12) and the C-tail form the NC domain, whose topology is dictated by a cis or trans peptide-bond conformation between residues 9 and 10, which correlates with the potency on insect or mammalian Na(v)s. We examined this hypothesis using Lqh3, an alpha-like toxin from Leiurus quinquestriatus hebraeus that is highly active in insects and mammalian brain. Lqh3 exhibits slower association kinetics to Na(v)s compared with other alpha-toxins and its binding to insect Na(v)s is pH-dependent. Mutagenesis of Lqh3 revealed a bi-partite bioactive surface, composed of the Core and NC domains, as found in other alpha-toxins. Yet, substitutions at the five-residue turn and stabilization of the 9-10 bond in the cis conformation did not affect the activity. However, substitution of hydrogen-bond donors/acceptors at the NC domain reduced the pH-dependency of toxin binding, while retaining its high potency at Drosophila Na(v)s expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Based on these results and the conformational flexibility and rearrangement of intramolecular hydrogen-bonds at the NC domain, evident from the known solution structure, we suggest that acidic pH or specific mutations at the NC domain favor toxin conformations with high affinity for the receptor by stabilizing the bound toxin-receptor complex. Moreover, the C-tail flexibility may account for the slower association rates and suggests a novel mechanism of dynamic conformer selection during toxin binding, enabling alpha-like toxins to affect a broad range of Na(v)s.
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April 2007

Olfactory functions and volumetric measures of orbitofrontal and limbic regions in schizophrenia.

Schizophr Res 2005 May;74(2-3):149-61

Department of Psychiatry, Medical University Innsbruck, Austria.

Objective: Olfactory deficits in schizophrenia patients have been suggested to reflect medial temporal and/or prefrontal brain abnormalities. In this study, we examined the relationship between different olfactory functions and volumes of the hippocampus-amygdala complex (HAC) and the orbitofrontal brain region using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods: Thirty-three young men with schizophrenia (DSM-IV) and 40 healthy controls performed unirhinal olfactory assessment including the main olfactory functions (threshold, discrimination, and identification), and odor judgements (intensity, edibility, familiarity, and pleasantness). Volumes of regions in the medial temporal lobe (hippocampus and amygdala) and the prefrontal region (orbitofrontal gray and white matter) were measured on MRI scans.

Results: Compared with controls, patients showed bilaterally impaired thresholds, quality discrimination and identification, as well as edibility judgements. Olfactory deficits were not attributable to smoking, premorbid intelligence, or impaired thresholds. Relative to controls, patients had bilateral reduced hippocampus and amygdala volumes. In patients, smaller hippocampus volumes were associated with poorer olfactory discrimination ability.

Conclusions: Olfactory deficits in schizophrenia appear to be associated with morphometric abnormalities in the medial temporal rather than the orbitofrontal region (OFR). These results indicate that olfactory quality discrimination deficits are related to structural hippocampus abnormalities. Future studies of genetic and behavioral high-risk samples seem warranted.
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May 2005