Role of calcium in the regulation of acetylcholine receptor synthesis in cultured muscle cells

Miriam Birnbaum, Moshe A. Reis, Asher Shainberg

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1. Embryonic muscles differentiated in vitro were used to study the effects of intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) variations on the amount of acetylcholine receptors ([AChR]) in the cell membrane. 2. Increased Ca2+ concentration in the growth medium ([Ca2+]o) caused a marked elevation of AChR levels, apparently through de novo synthesis. 3. Agents known to increase [Ca2+]i and its accumulation in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), such as ionophore A23187, sodium dantrolene (DaNa), or high [Mg2+]o all enhanced α-bungarotoxin (α-BGT) binding after 48 h of treatment. 4. Electrical stimulation or caffeine, both affectors of SR calcium release, brought about a decrease in [AChR] probably by suppressing its synthesis. 5. The effects of simultaneous treatment with two AChR-inducing agents, namely, high [Ca2+]o in the presence of tetrodotoxin (TTX) or high [Mg2+]o were not additive, thus suggesting action via a common saturable mediator. 6. Intermediate AChR levels obtained following simultaneous treatments with opposing effects, e. g., electrical stimulation in the presence of high [Ca2+]o or DaNa, suggest contradictory actions on a common mediator. 7. All these observations indicate a strong correlation between SR calcium levels and [AChR] on myotubes; while calcium accumulation in the SR was followed by increased AChR synthesis, calcium release was accompanied by suppression of receptor synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1980


  • Acetylcholine receptor synthesis
  • Intracellular calcium concentration
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • Skeletal muscle cultures


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