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Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2007 Jan;28(1):14-22. Epub 2006 Dec 6.

Exploring the pharmacological properties of insect nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

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  • 1Laboratoire R√©cepteurs et Canaux Ioniques Membranaires, UPRES EA 2647/USC INRA, Universit√© d'Angers, UFR Sciences, 2 Boulevard Lavoisier, 49045 Angers cedex, France.


Insect nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptors are molecular targets of insecticides such as neonicotinoids that are used to control disease-carrying insects and agricultural pests. To date, several insect nACh receptor subunits have been identified, indicating different nACh receptor subtypes and pharmacological profiles. Because of the difficulty in expressing functional insect nACh receptors in heterologous systems, new research tools are needed. Studies on insects resistant to the insecticide imidacloprid and on laboratory-generated hybrid and chimaeric nACh receptors in vitro have provided information about the molecular basis of receptor diversity, neonicotinoid resistance and selectivity. Additionally, recent results indicate that the sensitivity of insect nACh receptors to imidacloprid can be modulated by intracellular phosphorylation mechanisms, which offers a new approach to studying insect nACh receptor pharmacology.

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