The Cloning and Expression in Xenopus laevis Oocytes of an Insect Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor α-Subunit

  • John Marshal
  • Eric A. Barnard
  • David B. Sattelle


The central nervous system of an insect shares many chemical and some organizational features evident in the more complex nervous systems of vertebrates. In both groups of organisms nerve cells form networks that control behaviour. The functions of an increasing number of uniquely identifiable neurones are established in events such as flight and respiration of insects (Hoyle and Burrows, 1973a,b; Robertson, 1986). In order to understand fully these behaviours it is important to study the molecular components of the system. Of particular interest are the synapses which are control points in the communication between neurones. The chemical synapse plays a major role in neural integration and many different types of neurotransmitter molecules have been recognized such as acetylcholine (ACh), γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), octopamine and glutamic acid which in turn activate their respective receptors. Although many of these neurotransmitters are also present in the vertebrate CNS, it is becoming increasingly clear that some insect receptors including the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) have different pharmacological properties from those of their vertebrate counterparts (Sattelle, 1980, 1988; Benson, 1988).


Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor Glycine Receptor Motor Neurone Xenopus Laevis Oocyte nAChR Subunit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Marshal
    • 1
  • Eric A. Barnard
    • 2
  • David B. Sattelle
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyYale UniversityUSA
  2. 2.MRC Molecular Neurobiology UnitCambridgeUK
  3. 3.AFRC Unit of Insect Neurophysiology and PharmacologyCambridgeUK

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