Structure of Neuronal Nicotinic Receptors

  • Francesca Fasoli
  • Cecilia GottiEmail author
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 23)


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are a critical component of the brain’s cholinergic neurotransmission system that modulates important physiological processes and whose dysfunction has been observed in patients with neurodegenerative diseases and mental illness. nAChRs are a heterogeneous family of receptor subtypes consisting of pentameric combinations of α and β subunits, and are widely expressed throughout the central and peripheral nervous system. nAChR subtypes share a common basic structure but their biophysical and pharmacological properties depend on their subunit composition , which is therefore central to understanding receptor function in the nervous system and discovering new subtype-selective drugs. We briefly review some recent findings concerning the structure and function of nAChRs, particularly the native subtypes.


Neuronal nicotinic receptor subtypes Subunit composition Stoichiometry Nicotine αBungarotoxin Acetylcholine binding sites 



Francesca Fasoli is a Ph.D. student supported by the Fondazione Vollaro.

Funding was received from the CNR Research Project on Aging, Regione Lombardia Projects NUTEC ID 30263049 and MbMM-convenzione n°18099/RCC.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Biotechnologies and Translational MedicineConsiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Institute of Neuroscience, University of MilanMilanItaly

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