Electrophysiology of a chick neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor expressed in Xenopus oocytes after cDNA injection

Neuron. 1988 Nov;1(9):847-52. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(88)90132-8.


Brain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are made up of protein subunits that differ from those constituting muscle nAChRs. To characterize the physiological properties of one class of avian brain nicotinic receptor, we injected the nuclei of Xenopus oocytes with full-length cDNAs for the ligand binding (alpha 4) and structural (n alpha) subunits. Injected oocytes had large ACh-induced currents in the microampere range that were insensitive to alpha-bungarotoxin, as expected for neuronal nAChRs. We found that these brain nAChRs incorporate at least two alpha 4 subunits and that their functional properties differ from muscle nAChRs in at least two respects: the elementary conductance is considerably smaller (20 pS), and channels in outside out patches stop functioning within a few minutes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chickens
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Oocytes / metabolism*
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / genetics
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology
  • Xenopus laevis


  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • DNA