Nicotinic (α4β2) Receptors
Nicotinic α4β2 receptors have high affinity for nicotine and account for >90% of [3H]-nicotine binding to brain tissues. A stoichiometry of (α4)2(β2)3 has been proposed, generating two agonist binding sites consistent with the model of the muscle nAChR.
Manipulation of the stoichiometry of α4β2 nAChRs expressed in Xenopus oocytes indicates that (α4)3(β2)2 nAChRs are also viable, displaying lower affinity for ACh and higher Ca2+ permeability; whether native nAChRs with this subunit stoichiometry exist is not known.
Transgenic knockout of either of these subunits eliminates nicotine self administration, whereas virally targeted re-expression of the β2 subunit in mesolimbic areas of β2 knockout mice recovers this behavior, implicating a role for α4β2 nAChRs in nicotine addiction. α4β2 nAChRs are highly expressed in the thalamus and have been suggested to have a putative role in the thalamo-cortical circuitry . As a consequence of their putative role in thalamo-cortical circuitry, gain of function mutations in the M2 domain of either the α4 or β2 subunit give rise to some forms of autosomal dominant nocturnal frontal lobe epilepsy. The human genes encoding the nicotinic α4 and β2 receptor subunits have been localized to chromosomes 13 (q13.2-q13.3) and 1 (1q21.3) respectively.
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Literature for Nicotinic (α4β2) Receptors
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Updated in 2014, this review summarizes the diverse structure and function of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and gives an in-depth review of the ligands available for nAChR research. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.Request copy | Download PDF | View all reviews
Written by Alan Palmer and updated in 2015, this poster summarizes structural and functional changes observed in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD), as well as classic AD drug targets. The hypotheses behind the neurobiology of AD are discussed alongside the different stages in disease progression. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.Request copy | Download PDF | View all posters
Written by Grant D. Nicol and Michael R. Vasko, this poster outlines the excitatory and inhibitory signaling pathways involved in modulation of peripheral sensitization. The role of ion channels, GPCRs, neurotrophins, and cytokines in sensory neurons are also described. Compounds available from Tocris are listed.Request copy | Download PDF | View all posters