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J Biol Chem. 2005 Feb 25;280(8):6392-8. Epub 2004 Dec 3.

A family of acetylcholine-gated chloride channel subunits in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada.


The genome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans encodes a surprisingly large and diverse superfamily of genes encoding Cys loop ligand-gated ion channels. Here we report the first cloning, expression, and pharmacological characterization of members of a family of anion-selective acetylcholine receptor subunits. Two subunits, ACC-1 and ACC-2, form homomeric channels for which acetylcholine and arecoline, but not nicotine, are efficient agonists. These channels are blocked by d-tubocurarine but not by alpha-bungarotoxin. We provide evidence that two additional subunits, ACC-3 and ACC-4, interact with ACC-1 and ACC-2. The acetylcholine-binding domain of these channels appears to have diverged substantially from the acetylcholine-binding domain of nicotinic receptors.

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