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Neuron. 1995 Aug;15(2):323-31.

Three-dimensional location of the main immunogenic region of the acetylcholine receptor.

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  • 1Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, England.


About two-thirds of the antibodies to the nicotinic acetylcholine (ACh) receptor in patients with the autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis bind to the main immunogenic region (MIR). This is small, well-defined region on each of the two alpha subunits, containing residues 67-76 (alpha 67-76). By determining the structure of the ACh receptor complexed with two different fragments of an MIR-directed antibody, we have determined the three-dimensional location of the MIR (and therefore residues alpha 67-76) to be at the extreme synaptic end of each alpha subunit. The antibody fragments extend from the binding site away from the receptor axis and into the synaptic cleft, minimizing any steric interference neighboring ACh receptors might have with their binding.

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