The Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

ACh interacts with the nicotinic ACh receptor to initiate an end-plate potential (EPP) in muscle or an excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) in peripheral ganglia (Chapter 6). The nicotinic receptor of vertebrate skeletal muscle is a pentamer composed of 4 distinct subunits (a, ยก, g, and d) in the stoichiometric ratio of 2:1:1:1, respectively. In mature, innervated muscle end plates, the g subunit is replaced by the closely related e subunit. The nicotinic receptor is prototypical of other pen-tameric ligand-gated ion channels, which include the receptors for the inhibitory amino acids (g-aminobutyric acid [GABA] and glycine) and 5-HT3 serotonin receptors (Figure 9-1).

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