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The a7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor function in hippocampal neurons is regulated by the lipid composition of the plasma membrane.

Authors: Colón-Sáez, José O  Yakel, Jerrel L 
Citation: Colón-Sáez JO and Yakel JL, J Physiol. 2011 Jul 1;589(Pt 13):3163-74. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.209494. Epub 2011 May 3.
Pubmed: (View Article at PubMed) PMID:21540349
DOI: Full-text: DOI:10.1113/jphysiol.2011.209494

The α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play an important role in cellular events such as neurotransmitter release, second messenger cascades, cell survival and apoptosis. In addition, they are a therapeutic target for the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, and drugs that potentiate α7 nAChRs through the regulation of desensitization are currently being developed. Recently, these channels were found to be localized into lipid rafts. Here we show that the disruption of lipid rafts in rat primary hippocampal neurons, through cholesterol-scavenging drugs (methyl-ß-cyclodextrin) and the enzymatic breakdown of sphingomyelin (sphingomyelinase), results in significant changes in the desensitization kinetics of native and expressed α7 nAChRs. These effects can be prevented by cotreatment with cholesterol and sphingomyelin, and can be mimicked by treatment with cholesterol and sphingomyelin synthesis inhibitors (mevastatin and myriocin, respectively), suggesting that the effects on desensitization kinetics are indeed due to changes in the levels of cholesterol and sphingomyelin in the plasma membrane. These data provide new insights into themechanism of desensitization of α7 nAChRs by providing evidence that the lipid composition of the plasma membrane can modulate the activity of the α7 nAChRs.


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CRRD Object Information
CRRD ID: 12790638
Created: 2017-02-18
Species: All species
Last Modified: 2017-02-18
Status: ACTIVE


RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.