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Neuron. 1996 Dec;17(6):1231-40.

Synaptic currents generated by neuronal acetylcholine receptors sensitive to alpha-bungarotoxin.

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Department of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0357, USA.


Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors are widely distributed throughout the nervous system, but their functions remain largely unknown. One of the most abundant is a class of receptors that contains the alpha 7 gene product, has a high relative permeability to calcium, and binds alpha-bungarotoxin. Here, we report that receptors sensitive to alpha-bungarotoxin, though concentrated in perisynaptic clusters on neurons, can generate a large amount of the synaptic current. Residual currents through other nicotinic receptors are sufficient to elicit action potentials, but with slower rise times. This demonstrates a postsynaptic response for alpha-bungarotoxin-sensitive receptors on neurons and suggests that the functional domain of the postsynaptic membrane is broader than previously recognized.

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