Glycoprotein Properties of Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptors from Bovine Cerebral Cortex

James J. Rauh, Mary P. Lambert, Nam J. Cho, Hemin Chin, William L. Klein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Abstract: Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors from bovine cerebral cortex were solubilized in digitonin for the subsequent determination of several biochemical properties. The digitonin‐solubilized receptors were representative of the entire membrane‐bound population of muscarinic receptors with respect to carbohydrate content, isoelectric point, and molecular weight. The glycoprotein nature of the solubilized receptors was demonstrated by their quantitative binding to wheat germ agglutinin‐aga‐rose. The presence of a bound antagonist did not decrease the extent of receptor binding to this lectin. Treatment of receptors with neuraminidase to remove N‐acetylneuraminic acid residues reduced binding to wheat germ agglutinin‐agarose by 40%; further treatment with endo‐glycosidases D and H, to remove all N‐linked carbohydrate, decreased binding by a total of 67%. Removal of N‐acetylneuraminic acid residues had no effect on agonist binding properties of the membrane‐bound receptors. The carbohydrate‐specific enzymes were further used to assess the contribution of carbohydrate to the isoelectric point and molecular weight of the receptor. Muscarinic receptors solubilized in either digitonin or Triton X‐100 focused as one major species with a pI of 4.3. Neuraminidase treatment resulted in an increase of 0.17 units in the pi of the receptor. Muscarinic receptors labeled with the covalent muscarinic antagonist propylbenzilylcholine mustard migrated as a single major polypeptide with a molecular weight of 73,000 on sodium dodecyl sulfate‐urea‐polyacrylamide gels. The exclusion of urea from these gels severely retarded receptor mobility, indicating a strong tendency for aggregation of receptors in SDS. Removal of N‐linked carbohydrate by endoglycosidase treatment reduced the molecular weight of the antagonist binding polypeptide by no more than 5%. These results demonstrate the glycoprotein nature of muscarinic receptors from mammalian cerebral cortex and provide evidence for their heterogeneity with respect to carbohydrate content.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986


  • CNS receptors
  • Carbohydrate heterogeneity
  • Lectins
  • Membrane proteins
  • Post‐translational modification
  • Synaptic proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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