Cholinergic activity regulates muscarinic receptors in central nervous system cultures

R. G. Siman, W. L. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor activation induces a loss of muscarinic receptors from cultured neuroblastoma and embryonic chicken cerebrum cells. As measured by specific binding of [3H]quinuclidinyl benzilate, steady-state receptor concentrations decrease 75% in response to receptor-saturating concentrations of cholinomimetic drugs. Both the degree and duration of activation determine the extent of receptor loss. A method for analyzing receptor turnover, which does not rely upon protein synthesis inhibitors, shows that activated receptors have a half-life of 1.6 hr. The regulated rate of receptor disappearance begins as soon as activators are added, and the rate is maintained as long as activators are present. The receptor blocker atropine causes an increase in receptor levels in central nervous system cultures but has no effect on receptors in cultures of adrenergic neuroblastoma cells. Because spontaneous cholinergic activity is expected only in the central nervous system cultures, the increase likely reflects blockade of endogenous regulation. Cytochalasin B blocks receptor regulation, suggesting that regulation may be mediated by a process involving microfilaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4141-4145
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1979

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