Dystrophin stabilizes alpha 3- but not alpha 7-containing nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes at the postsynaptic apparatus in the mouse superior cervical ganglion

Neurobiol Dis. 2002 Jun;10(1):54-66. doi: 10.1006/nbdi.2002.0495.


The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes were characterized in the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) of wild-type and dystrophin-lacking mdx mice. The binding of Epibatidine and alphaBungarotoxin, ligands for alpha3- and alpha7-containing receptors, respectively, revealed, for each ligand, a single class of high-affinity binding sites, with similar affinity in both wild-type and mdx mice. The Epibatidine-labeled receptors were immunoprecipitated by antibodies against the alpha3, beta2, and beta4 subunits. Immunocytochemistry showed that the percentage of alpha3-, beta2-, and beta4- but not of alpha7-immunopositive postsynaptic specializations was significantly lower in mdx than in wild-type mouse SCG. These observations suggest that the mouse SCG contains nAChRs, stabilized by dystrophin, in which the alpha3 subunit is associated with the beta2 and/or beta4 subunits. Conversely, dystrophin is not involved in the stabilization of the alpha7-containing nAChRs, as the percentage of alpha7-immunopositive synapses is similar in both wild-type and mdx mouse SCG.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Binding Sites
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / metabolism
  • Dystrophin / deficiency*
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred mdx
  • Nicotinic Agonists / metabolism
  • Pyridines / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / analysis
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / immunology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / chemistry
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / metabolism*
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure
  • Tritium / metabolism
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Chrna7 protein, human
  • Chrna7 protein, mouse
  • Chrna7 protein, rat
  • Dystrophin
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Pyridines
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • alpha7 Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor
  • nicotinic receptor subunit alpha3
  • Tritium
  • epibatidine