Primary structure and expression of beta 2: a novel subunit of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors

Neuron. 1988 Mar;1(1):45-54. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(88)90208-5.


A new subunit, beta 2, of the neuronal nicotinic receptor family has been identified. This subunit has the structural features of a non-agonist-binding subunit. We provide evidence that beta 2 can substitute for the muscle beta 1 subunit to form a functional nicotinic receptor in Xenopus oocytes. Expression studies performed in oocytes have demonstrated that three different neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors can be formed by the pairwise injection of beta 2 mRNA and each of the neuronal alpha subunit mRNAs. The beta 2 gene is expressed in PC12 cells and in areas of the central nervous system where the alpha 2, alpha 3, and alpha 4 genes are expressed. These results lead us to propose that the nervous system expresses diverse forms of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors by combining beta 2 subunits with different agonist-binding alpha subunits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oocytes / drug effects
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism
  • Xenopus laevis


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • DNA
  • Acetylcholine