Is the acetylcholine receptor a rabies virus receptor?

Science. 1982 Jan 8;215(4529):182-4. doi: 10.1126/science.7053569.


Rabies virus was found on mouse diaphragms and on cultured chick myotubes in a distribution coinciding with that of the acetylcholine receptor. Treatment of the myotubes with alpha-bungarotoxin and d-tubocurarine before the addition of the virus reduced the number of myotubes that became infected with rabies virus. These findings together suggest that acetylcholine receptors may serve as receptors for rabies virus. The binding of virus to acetylcholine receptors, which are present in high density at the neuromuscular junction, would provide a mechanism whereby the virus could be locally concentrated at sites in proximity to peripheral nerves facilitating subsequent uptake and transfer to the central nervous system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism
  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Bungarotoxins / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Diaphragm
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism*
  • Rabies virus / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism*
  • Tubocurarine / metabolism


  • Bungarotoxins
  • Receptors, Cholinergic
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Acetylcholine
  • Tubocurarine