Send to

Choose Destination
Biochim Biophys Acta. 1989 Dec 11;987(1):95-103.

Ethanol increases agonist affinity for nicotinic receptors from Torpedo.

Author information

Committee on Higher Degrees in Biophysics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.


The presence of ethanol increases the apparent affinity with which acetylcholine and carbamylcholine elicit 86Rb+ flux from Torpedo nicotinic acetylcholine receptor-rich vesicles at 4 degrees C. Affinity increased exponentially with ethanol concentration, reaching nearly 200-fold by 3.0 M ethanol without sign of saturation. At submaximal agonist concentrations 50-100 mM ethanol enhanced flux by 15-35%, but the maximum agonist-induced flux was unaffected in quenched-flow assays. The effect was independent of the agonist and of the time over which flux was measured (5 ms to 10 s), indicating that ethanol acts before agonist-induced desensitization occurs. Ethanol also caused an increase in the apparent affinity with which acetylcholine caused fast desensitization. This affinity increase was equal to that for flux-response curves, but the maximum fast desensitization rate was increased 50% at 0.5 M ethanol. This was the most pronounced of ethanol's actions and has not been reported before. Prolonged preincubation with 1.0 M ethanol alone reduced agonist-induced flux activity by only 25%. The rate of agonist-induced slow desensitization was also increased, but neither of these effects was as marked as those on fast desensitization and cation flux.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center