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Eur J Neurosci. 2001 May;13(10):1849-60.

Neurotoxicity of channel mutations in heterologously expressed alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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1
Division of Neurobiology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA. rlukas@chw.edu

Abstract

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) composed of chick alpha7 subunits mutated to threonine at amino acid valine-251 in the putative channel-lining M2 domain were expressed heterologously in several neuron-like and non-neuronal mammalian cell lines. Expression of mutant alpha7-nAChR is toxic to neuron-like cells of the human neuroblastoma cell lines SH-SY5Y and IMR-32, but not to several other cell types. Growth in the presence of the alpha7-nAChR antagonist methyllycaconitine (MLA) protects against neurotoxicity, as does gradual downregulation of functional, mutant alpha7-nAChR in surviving transfected SH-SY5Y cells. Relative to wild-type alpha7-nAChR, functional alpha7-nAChR mutants show a higher affinity for agonists, slower rates of desensitization, and sensitivity to dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHbetaE) as an agonist, but they retain sensitivity to MLA as a competitive antagonist. These findings demonstrate that expression of hyperfunctional, mutant forms of Ca2+-permeable alpha7-nAChR is toxic to neuron-like cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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