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Annu Rev Physiol. 2000;62:755-78.

Ligand-gated ion channel interactions with cytoskeletal and signaling proteins.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


In recent years, it has become apparent that ligand-gated ion channels (ionotropic receptors) in the neuronal plasma membrane interact via their cytoplasmic domains with a multitude of intracellular proteins. Different classes of ligand-gated channels associate with distinct sets of intracellular proteins, often through specialized scaffold proteins containing PDZ domains. These specific interactions link the receptor channel to the cortical cytoskeleton and to appropriate signal transduction pathways in the cell. Thus ionotropic receptors are components of extensive protein complexes that are likely involved in the subcellular targeting, cytoskeletal anchoring, and localized clustering of the receptors at specific sites on the neuronal surface. In addition to structural functions, receptor-associated proteins can play important roles as activity modulators or downstream effectors of ligand-gated channels.

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