The gamma-aminobutyric acidA (GABAA) receptor purified from adult bovine cerebral cortex was photoaffinity-labelled with the agonist benzodiazepine [3H]flunitrazepam and the radioactivity shown to be coincident with a band with Mr 53,000 that was recognized by three anti-(GABAA receptor alpha 1 subunit sequence)-specific antibodies. Complete and limited CNBr cleavage of the purified photoaffinity-labelled receptor was carried out. The products of this reaction were analysed for radioactivity, for immunoreactivity with anti-[alpha 1-(1-15)-peptide], anti-[alpha 1-(324-341)-peptide] and anti-[alpha 1-(413-429)-peptide] polyclonal antibodies and for carbohydrate by biotinylated concanavalin A lectin overlay. Complete CNBr cleavage gave a radioactive peptide with Mr 10,000-12,000 that was not recognized by the above-mentioned specific antisera. By using the deduced amino acid sequence of the alpha 1 subunit [Schofield, Darlison, Fujita, Burt, Stephenson, Rodriguez, Rhee, Ramachandran, Reale, Glencorse, Seeburg & Barnard (1987) Nature (London) 328, 221-227], it is proposed that the site of the benzodiazepine-agonist photoaffinity-labelling reaction does not lie within the amino acid sequences alpha 1 1-58 and alpha 1 149-429.

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