Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

1. Site-directed mutagenesis was used to create an altered form of the chicken alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor subunit (alpha7x61) in which a leucine residue was inserted between residues Leu9' and Ser10' in transmembrane domain 2. The properties of alpha7x61 receptors are distinct from those of the wild-type receptor. 2. Oocytes expressing wild-type alpha7 receptors responded to 10 microM nicotine with rapid inward currents that desensitized with a time-constant of 710+/-409 ms (mean+/-s.e.mean, n=5). However in alpha7x61 receptors 10 microM nicotine resulted in slower onset inward currents that desensitized with a time-constant of 5684+/-3403 ms (mean+/-s.e.mean, n = 4). No significant difference in the apparent affinity of nicotine or acetylcholine between mutant and wild-type receptors was observed. Dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHbetaE) acted as an antagonist on both receptors. 3. Molecular modelling of the alpha7x61 receptor channel pore formed by a bundle of M2 alpha-helices suggested that three of the channel lining residues would be altered by the leucine insertion i.e.; Ser10 would be replaced by the leucine insertion, Val13' and Phe14' would be replaced, by Thr and Val, respectively. 4 When present in the LEV-1 nicotinic ACh receptor subunit from Caenorhabditis elegans the same alteration conferred resistance to levamisole anthelmintic drug. Levamisole blocked responses to nicotine of wild-type and alpha7x61 receptors. However, block was more dependent on membrane potential for the alpha7x61 receptors. 5. We conclude that the leucine insertion in transmembrane domain 2 has the unusual effect of slowing desensitization without altering apparent agonist affinity.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Pharmacol

Publication Date





747 - 755


Acetylcholine, Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Anthelmintics, Base Sequence, Chickens, Dihydro-beta-Erythroidine, Female, In Vitro Techniques, Leucine, Levamisole, Membrane Potentials, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Mutation, Nicotine, Nicotinic Agonists, Oocytes, Protein Conformation, Receptors, Nicotinic, Xenopus laevis