beta3 subunit is present in different nicotinic receptor subtypes in chick retina

Eur J Pharmacol. 2000 Mar 30;393(1-3):23-30. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(00)00067-4.


Although the neuronal nicotinic beta3 subunit was cloned several years ago, it has only recently been shown to form heteromeric channels when associated with other nicotinic subunits, and very little information is available concerning its assembly in the native nicotinic receptors of the nervous system. Using subunit-specific antibodies and immunoprecipitation experiments, we have identified the retina as being the chick central nervous system (CNS) area that expresses the highest level of the beta3 subunit. Sequential immunopurification experiments showed that there are at least two populations of beta3-containing receptors in chick retina: in one, the beta3 subunit is associated with the alpha6 and beta4 subunits; in the other more heterogeneous population, the beta3 subunit is associated with the alpha2, alpha3, alpha4, beta2 and beta4 subunits. Both of these receptor populations bind [3H]epibatidine and a number of nicotinic receptor agonists with high affinity (nM) and nicotinic receptor antagonists with a lower affinity (microM). The greatest pharmacological difference between the two populations is the affinity for the alpha-conotoxin MII, which inhibits binding to alpha6-containing receptors and not that to beta3-containing receptors. We also searched for the presence of the beta3 subunit associated with the alpha-bungarotoxin binding subunits alpha7 and/or alpha8 in retina and chick brain. Immunoprecipitation studies using anti-beta3 antibodies did not detect any specific alpha-bungarotoxin labeled receptors, thus, indicating that the beta3 subunit is not present in the alpha-bungarotoxin receptors of these areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / pharmacology
  • Carbachol / pharmacology
  • Chickens
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Nicotinic Agonists / pharmacology
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism
  • Pyridines / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / chemistry
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / immunology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Retina / metabolism*
  • Tritium
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Pyridines
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
  • Tritium
  • Carbachol
  • epibatidine