Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors

J. P. Changeux, Y. Paas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is a transmembrane allosteric protein that mediates transduction of chemoelectric signals throughout the nervous system by opening an intrinsic ionic channel. This rapid pore opening enables flow of Na +, K+, and, in several instances, Ca2+ ions across the cell membrane. As a consequence, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors elicit fast changes in the membrane electric potential, but they also regulate transmission of electric signals by closing the pore through slower desensitization transitions. As such, nicotinic acetylcholine receptors play crucial physiological roles and, when altered, they cause pathologies in humans. This article discusses the functional organization of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors down to the atomic level.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Ltd.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9780080450469
StatePublished - 2009


  • Acetylcholine
  • Channel pore
  • Cys-loop receptors
  • Gating
  • Ligand-binding domain
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Neurotransmitter
  • Selectivity


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