Quantum conductance changes in lipid bilayer membranes associated with incorporation of acetylcholine receptors

Abstract

CONSIDERABLE attention has focused on the isolation and characterisation of the nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor from electroplax1–4. This receptor is identified by its ability to bind cholinergic ligands, and its molecular weight and amino acid content have been estimated5,6. Similar extraction procedures have also been applied to nicotinic receptors from mammalian brain7 but it is not known whether the coupling of ACh to the receptor results in the opening of transmembrane channels, the activation of ionic carrier mechanisms or some other mechanism that modifies membrane permeability. Little is known about the ionic permeability changes associated with the function of the single receptor. It has been reported8 that crude acetylcholinesterase (AChE) preparations from electroplax contain material capable of inducing transient membrane permeability changes in lipid bilayers in response to ACh or carbachol, but the relationship to ACh receptor function is unclear.

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GOODALL, M., BRADLEY, R., SACCOMANI, G. et al. Quantum conductance changes in lipid bilayer membranes associated with incorporation of acetylcholine receptors. Nature 250, 68–70 (1974). https://doi.org/10.1038/250068a0

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