Sulphonation of cholinergic receptor disulphide bond increases response to ACh

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 01 June 1979


THE presence on the cholinergic receptor of a critical disulphide bond has been demonstrated and localised to within 10 Å of the cholinergic receptor anionic binding subsite1–4. Reduction of this bond by dithiothreitol results in a reduced response of the nicotinic cholinergic receptor to acetylcholine (ACh) in many systems1,5–8. I report here that heterolytic cleavage of this disulphide bond is produced using sodium bisulphite, a reagent which shows a high degree of specificity, reactivity and reversibility of interaction with the disulphide bond9. The active agent is the bisulphite ion, the reaction being RSSR + HSO2−3RSSO3 + HSR and resulting in the addition of the strongly nucleophilic sulphonate group to the receptor. The addition of this group seems to modify the ACh receptor–ionophore complex in a unique manner which results in an increase in its response to ACh.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Karlin, A. & Bartels, E. Biochim. biophys. Acta. 126, 525–535 (1966).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Karlin, A. J. gen. Physiol. 54, 245–264 (1969).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Karlin, A., Prives, J., Deal, W. & Winnik, M. J. molec. Biol. 61, 175–188 (1971).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Karlin, A. Fedn. Proc. 32, 1847–1853 (1973).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Rang, H. P. & Ritter, J. M. Molec. Pharmac. 7, 620–631 (1971).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Alburquerque, E. X., Sokoll, M. D., Sonesson, B. & Thesleff, S. Eur. J. Pharmac. 4, 40–46 (1968).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Ben-Haim, D., Landau, E. M. & Silman, I. J. Physiol., Lond. 234, 305–325 (1973).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Bregestovski, P. D., Iljin, V. E., Jurchenko, O. P., Veprintsev, B. N. & Vulfius, C. A. Nature 270, 71–73 (1978).

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Means, G. E. & Feeney, R. E. Chemical Modifications of Proteins (Holden-Day, San Francisco, 1971).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

STEINACKER, A. Sulphonation of cholinergic receptor disulphide bond increases response to ACh. Nature 278, 358–360 (1979).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.