The continuous regions for short-neurotoxin binding on the alpha-chains of Torpedo californica (electric ray) and human acetylcholine receptors (AChR) were localized by reaction of 125I-labelled cobrotoxin (Cot) and erabutoxin b (Eb) with synthetic overlapping peptides spanning the entire extracellular part of the respective alpha-chains. On Torpedo AChR, five Cot-binding regions were found to reside within peptides alpha 1-16, alpha 23-38/alpha 34-49 overlap, alpha 100-115, alpha 122-138 and alpha 194-210. The Eb-binding regions were localized within peptides alpha 23-38/alpha 34-49/alpha 45-60 overlap, alpha 100-115 and alpha 122-138. The main binding activity for both toxins resided within region alpha 122-138. In previous studies we had shown that the binding of long alpha-neurotoxins [alpha-bungarotoxin (Bgt) and cobratoxin (Cbt)] involved the same regions on Torpedo AChR as well as an additional region within residues alpha 182-198. Thus region alpha 182-198, which is the strongest binding region for long neurotoxins on Torpedo AChR, was not a binding region for short neurotoxins. On human AChR, peptide alpha 122-138 possessed the highest activity with both toxins, and lower activity was found in the overlap alpha 23-38/alpha 34-49/alpha 45-60 and in peptide alpha 194-210. In addition, peptides alpha 100-115 and alpha 56-71 showed strong and medium binding activities to Eb, but low activity to Cot, whereas peptide alpha 1-16 exhibited low binding to Cot and no binding to Eb. Comparison with previous studies indicated that, for human AChR, the binding regions of short and long neurotoxins were essentially the same. The finding that the region within residues alpha 122-138 of both human and Torpedo AChR possessed the highest binding activity with short neurotoxins indicated that this region constitutes a universal binding site for long and short neurotoxins on AChR from various species.

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