Associated proteins: the universal toolbox controlling ligand gated ion channel function

T Araud, Susan Wonnacott, D Bertrand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (SciVal)


Ligand gated ion channels are integral multimeric membrane proteins that can detect with high sensitivity the presence of a specific transmitter in the extracellular space and transduce this signal into an ion flux. While these receptors are widely expressed in the nervous system, their expression is not limited to neurons or their postsynaptic targets but extends to non-neuronal cells where they participate in many physiological responses. Cells have developed complex regulatory mechanisms allowing for the precise control and modulation of ligand gated ion channels. In this overview the roles of accessory subunits and associated proteins in these regulatory mechanisms are reviewed and their relevance illustrated by examples at different ligand gated ion channel types, with emphasis on nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. Dysfunction of ligand gated ion channels can result in neuromuscular, neurological or psychiatric disorders. A better understanding of the precise function of associated proteins and how they impact on ligand gated ion channels will provide new therapeutic opportunities for clinical intervention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-169
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2010


  • associated proteins
  • activation properties
  • ligand gated ion channels
  • subunit assembly
  • desensitization
  • receptor trafficking
  • allosteric modulator


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