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BACKGROUND: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are pentameric proteins that are important drug targets for a variety of diseases including Alzheimer's, schizophrenia and various forms of epilepsy. One of the most intensively studied nAChR subunits in recent years has been alpha7. This subunit can form functional homomeric pentamers (alpha7)5, which can make interpretation of physiological and structural data much simpler. The growing amount of structural, pharmacological and physiological data for these receptors indicates the need for a dedicated and accurate database to provide a means to access this information in a coherent manner. DESCRIPTION: A7DB is a new relational database of manually curated experimental physiological data associated with the alpha7 nAChR. It aims to store as much of the pharmacology, physiology and structural data pertaining to the alpha7 nAChR. The data is accessed via web interface that allows a user to search the data in multiple ways: 1) a simple text query 2) an incremental query builder 3) an interactive query builder and 4) a file-based uploadable query. It currently holds more than 460 separately reported experiments on over 85 mutations. CONCLUSIONS: A7DB will be a useful tool to molecular biologists and bioinformaticians not only working on the alpha7 receptor family of proteins but also in the more general context of nicotinic receptor modelling. Furthermore it sets a precedent for expansion with the inclusion of all nicotinic receptor families and eventually all cys-loop receptor families.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Neurosci

Publication Date





Cholinergic Agents, Database Management Systems, Databases, Protein, Mutation, Receptors, Nicotinic, alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor