Synaptic currents generated by neuronal acetylcholine receptors sensitive to alpha-bungarotoxin

Neuron. 1996 Dec;17(6):1231-40. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80253-6.


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are widely distributed throughout the nervous system, but their functions remain largely unknown. One of the most abundant is a class of receptors that contains the alpha 7 gene product, has a high relative permeability to calcium, and binds alpha-bungarotoxin. Here, we report that receptors sensitive to alpha-bungarotoxin, though concentrated in perisynaptic clusters on neurons, can generate a large amount of the synaptic current. Residual currents through other nicotinic receptors are sufficient to elicit action potentials, but with slower rise times. This demonstrates a postsynaptic response for alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive receptors on neurons and suggests that the functional domain of the postsynaptic membrane is broader than previously recognized.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Bungarotoxins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Bungarotoxins / pharmacology*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Cholinergic / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Bungarotoxins
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Cholinergic
  • Acetylcholine