Hypothalamic histaminergic tuberomammillary (TM) neurons in rats express high densities of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) whose Ca2+ permeability, kinetic and pharmacological properties are similar to those of heterologous homomeric α7 nAChRs. However, native α7 nAChR subunits can co-assemble with β or α5 nAChR subunits to form functional heteromeric α7-containing α7β or α7α5 nAChRs with kinetics and pharmacology similar to those of α7 homomers. Therefore, although TM nAChRs have been used as an ex vivo model of functional α7 homomers, the molecular makeup of TM nAChRs has not been determined and the expression of functional α7-containing heteromers in TM neurons has not been excluded. To determine the profile of TM nAChR subunit transcripts, we have conducted single-cell qRT-PCR experiments using acutely dissociated TM neurons in rats. TM neurons were found to express transcripts of only principal α3, α6 and α7 nAChR subunits. Transcripts of other known mammalian neuronal subunits (α2, α4-5, α9-10, β2-4) were not detected. In the absence of β and α5 subunits, the expression of functional α7-containing heteromers in TM neurons is highly unlikely because principal α3, α6 and α7 nAChR subunits alone are not known to form functional heteromeric nAChRs. These results support the exclusive expression of native functional α7 homomers in rat TM neurons and introduce these neurons as a unique reliable source of native functional homomeric α7 nAChRs suitable for ex vivo and in vitro pharmacological assays in developing selective α7 nAChR agents.
|Number of pages||5|
|State||Published - 20 Mar 2014|
- Alpha3 nAChR
- Alpha6 nAChR
- Alpha7 nAChR