Influence of Membrane Receptor Lateral Diffusion on the Short-Term Depression of Acetylcholine-Induced Current in Helix Neurons

Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2017 Nov;37(8):1443-1455. doi: 10.1007/s10571-017-0475-3. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


We have studied how various drugs increasing the rate of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) lateral diffusion affect the depression of ACh-induced current in land snail Helix lucorum neurons responsible for defensive behavior. The acetylcholine (ACh) iontophoretic application protocol imitated the behavioral habituation protocol for the intact animal. We found that the drugs decreasing cholesterol level in cell membranes as methyl-β-cyclodextrin 1 mM and Ro 48-8071 2 µM, and polyclonal antibodies to actin-binding proteins as spectrin 5 µg/ml and merlin 2.5 µg/ml have changed the dynamic of ACh-current depression. The nAChRs lateral diffusion coefficient was obtained by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. A curve fitting model specially created for analysis of short-term choline sensitivity depression in snail neurons helped us evaluate separately the contribution of nAChRs lateral diffusion, their endocytosis and exocytosis to observed effects during electrophysiological experiments. Taken together, we hypothesize that nAChRs lateral diffusion plays an important role in the cellular correlate of habituation in land snail Helix lucorum neurons.

Keywords: Acetylcholine receptors; Acetylcholine-induced current, Habituation-like short-term depression; Command Helix neurons; Lateral diffusion; Methyl-β-cyclodextrin; Ro 48-8071; Spectrin, merlin.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Diffusion / drug effects
  • Helix, Snails
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / agonists
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*


  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Acetylcholine