alpha-Conotoxins as tools for the elucidation of structure and function of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subtypes

A Nicke, S Wonnacott, R J Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

96 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Cone snails comprise approximate to 500 species of venomous molluscs, which have evolved the ability to generate multiple toxins with varied and often exquisite selectivity. One class, the alpha-conotoxins, is proving to be a powerful tool for the differentiation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs). These comprise a large family of complex subtypes, whose significance in physiological functions and pathological conditions is increasingly becoming apparent. After a short introduction into the structure and diversity of nAChRs, this overview summarizes the identification and characterization of alpha-conotoxins with selectivity for neuronal nAChR subtypes and provides examples of their use in defining the compositions and function of neuronal nAChR subtypes in native vertebrate tissues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2305-2319
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Volume271
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004

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