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The Cys-loop superfamily of ligand-gated ion channels (Cys-loop receptors) is one of the most ubiquitous ion channel families in vertebrates and invertebrates. Despite their ubiquity, they are targeted by several classes of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, phenylpyrazols, and macrolides such as ivermectins. The current commercialized compounds have high target site selectivity, which contributes to the safety of insecticide use. Structural analyses have accelerated progress in this field; notably, the X-ray crystal structures of acetylcholine binding protein and glutamate-gated Cl channels revealed the details of the molecular interactions between insecticides and their targets. Recently, the functional expression of the insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) has been described, and detailed evaluations using the insect nAChR have emerged. This review discusses the basic concepts and the current insights into the molecular mechanisms of neuroactive insecticides targeting the ligand-gated ion channels, particularly Cys-loop receptors, and presents insights into target-based selectivity, resistance, and future drug design. © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry.


Makoto Ihara. Ligand-gated ion channels as targets of neuroactive insecticides. Bioscience, biotechnology, and biochemistry. 2022 Jan 24;86(2):157-164

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PMID: 34849545

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