Function of Acetylcholine Receptors in Reconstituted Liposomes

  • Mark G. McNamee
  • Owen T. Jones
  • Tung Ming Fong


The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (AChR) from the electric organ of various Torpedo species is the best-characterized neurotransmitter receptor and one of the best-characterized integral membrane proteins. The relative ease with which AChR can be isolated and purified from Torpedo californica electroplax in large quantities, coupled with the similarity between Torpedo AChR and mammalian skeletal muscle AChR, makes the Torpedo receptor an ideal model protein for studies of receptors, ion channels, and membrane proteins in general. The function of the AChR can be divided into four subfunctions, each of which reveals an intriguing facet of the receptor protein: (1) ligand recognition and binding; (2) coupling of ligand binding to a cation-specific ion channel; (3) cation permeation; and (4) desensitization, a complex process by which the ion channel is reversibly inactivated in the prolonged presence of activating ligands. Under normal physiological conditions, the acetylcholine-induced opening of AChR ion channels leads to a transient increase in cation permeability that results in membrane depolarization. The depolarization can ultimately lead to muscle contraction, signal conduction, or voltage changes depending on the tissues involved.


Acetylcholine Receptor Agonist Binding Flux Response Boundary Lipid Reconstituted Membrane 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark G. McNamee
    • 1
  • Owen T. Jones
    • 1
  • Tung Ming Fong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry and BiophysicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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