Neuronal and muscle nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit combinations expressed in Xenopus oocytes were tested for sensitivity to various neurotoxins. Extensive blockade of the alpha 3 beta 2 neuronal subunit combination was achieved by 10 nM neuronal bungarotoxin. Partial blockade of the alpha 4 beta 2 neuronal and alpha 1 beta 1 gamma delta muscle subunit combinations was caused by 1,000 nM neuronal bungarotoxin. The alpha 2 beta 2 neuronal subunit combination was insensitive to 1,000 nM neuronal bungarotoxin. Nearly complete blockade of all neuronal subunit combinations resulted from incubation with 2 nM neosurugatoxin, whereas 200 nM neosurugatoxin was required for partial blockade of the alpha 1 beta 1 gamma delta muscle subunit combination. The alpha 2 beta 2 and alpha 3 beta 2 neuronal subunit combinations were partially blocked by 10,000 nM lophotoxin analog-1, whereas complete blockade of the alpha 4 beta 2 neuronal and alpha 1 beta 1 gamma delta muscle subunit combinations resulted from incubation with this concentration of lophotoxin analog-1. The alpha 1 beta 1 gamma delta muscle subunit combination was blocked by the alpha-conotoxins G1A and M1 at concentrations of 100 nM. All of the neuronal subunit combinations were insensitive to 10,000 nM of both alpha-conotoxins. Thus, neosurugatoxin and the alpha-conotoxins distinguish between muscle and neuronal subunit combinations, whereas neuronal bungarotoxin and lophotoxin analog-1 distinguish between different neuronal subunit combinations on the basis of differing alpha subunits.