Multiple actions of substance P that regulate the functional properties of acetylcholine receptors of clonal rat PC12 cells

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Department of Physiology

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Document Type



Animals; Carbachol; Cell Line; Clone Cells; Ion Channels; Kinetics; Models, Biological; Proadifen; Receptors, Cholinergic; Sodium; Substance P


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


1. The effects of substance P (SP) on each of the kinetic components of reversible desensitization (measured at 4 degrees C) and also on irreversible deactivation (measured at 22 degrees C) of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor on PC12 cells were examined by 22Na+ influx measurements of the functional state of the receptor. 2. In the absence of agonists, SP converts the acetylcholine receptors in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, to a state that is not responsive to agonist. Upon removal of the peptide, this effect was reversible and the kinetics of the recovery of the permeability response were analysed to provide further characterization of the non-responsive state. Following exposure of cells to SP (10 microM) for 3 or more min, recovery was by a first-order process (time constant, t1/2 = 2.1 min), the same value, within experimental error, as that observed for recovery measured after the initial rapid phase of agonist-mediated desensitization. 3. In the presence of agonist, SP caused a strong enhancement of both the rate and extent of agonist-mediated desensitization. This effect was observed even at concentrations of peptide which produced only a small extent of desensitization when incubated alone. For 500 microM-carbamylcholine, the equilibrium level of desensitization (approximately 85% loss of the permeability response) was achieved at 4 degrees C in about 20 min by a biphasic process, while in the presence of 1.0 microM-SP, complete (100%) desensitization occurred by a single rapid exponential phase characterized by a t1/2 of 20 s. 4. The concentration of carbamylcholine required to produce half-maximal desensitization at equilibrium, Kdes, was 94 microM and was reduced by 6-fold in the presence of 0.3 microM-SP. 5. A mechanistic model is presented in which the receptor is viewed as existing in a dynamic conformational equilibrium between an activatable state Rc and the initial desensitized state Rd. It is proposed that SP binds preferentially to the Rd state and thus can allosterically (1) stabilize the receptor in the absence of agonist in that state, and (2) enhance, in an even lower concentration range, both the rate and extent of agonist-mediated stabilization of the receptor in the Rd state. 6. The second, slower component of agonist-mediated desensitization is, in contrast, inhibited by SP. This desensitization step appears to involve a covalent modification of the initial desensitized state (Rd) and is dependent on Ca2+. SP may exert this inhibitory effect by limiting the access of Ca2+ to an intracellular site of action.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)


J Physiol. 1987 Aug;389:69-97.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of physiology

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