Activation of heteroliganded mouse muscle nicotinic receptors

Gustav Akk, Lorin S. Milescu, Manfred Heckmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The activation of the mouse muscle-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptor was studied in the presence of carbachol, and in the simultaneous presence of carbachol and choline. The channel currents were recorded under steady-state conditions using cell-attached single-channel patch clamp, and during transient exposures to the agonists using a piezo-driven fast application system. The presence of choline resulted in inhibition of currents elicited by carbachol. The inhibitory effect of choline manifested as a reduction in the effective opening rate (increase in the mean intracluster closed time duration) in single-channel recordings. In the fast application experiments, the peak current amplitude was reduced and the current rise time increased when choline was co-applied with carbachol. The data were analysed according to a model in which receptor interactions with carbachol and choline resulted in three types of ligation: receptors occupied by two carbachol molecules, receptors occupied by two choline molecules, and receptors in which one agonist binding site was occupied by carbachol and the other by choline, i.e. heteroliganded receptors. All three agonist-bound receptor populations could open albeit with different efficacies. The affinity of the resting receptor to choline was estimated to be 1-2 mm, and heteroliganded receptors opened with an opening rate constant of ∼3000 s-1. The results of the analysis suggest that the presence of choline in the neuromuscular junction in vivo has little effect on the time course of synaptic currents. Nevertheless, the contribution of heteroliganded receptors should be taken into consideration when the receptor is exposed simultaneously to two or more agonists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-376
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005


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