Mixed nicotinic-muscarinic properties of the α9 nicotinic cholinergic receptor

Miguel Verbitsky, Carla V. Rothlin, Eleonora Katz, A. Belén Elgoyhen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


The rat α9 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) was expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and tested for its sensitivity to a wide variety of cholinergic compounds. Acetylcholine (ACh), carbachol, choline and methylcarbachol elicited agonist-evoked currents, giving maximal or near maximal responses. Both the nicotinic agonist suberyldicholine as well as the muscarinic agonists McN-A-343 and methylfurtrethonium behaved as weak partial agonists of the receptor. Most classical cholinergic compounds tested, being either nicotinic (nicotine, epibatidine, cytisine, methyllycaconitine, mecamylamine, dihydro-β-erythroidine), or muscarinic (muscarine, atropine, gallamine, pilocarpine, bethanechol) agonists and antagonists, blocked the recombinant α9 receptor. Block by nicotine, epibatidine, cytisine, methyllycaconitine and atropine was overcome at high ACh concentrations, suggesting a competitive type of block. The present results indicate that α9 displays mixed nicotinic-muscarinic features that resemble the ones described for the cholinergic receptor of cochlear outer hair cells (OHCs). We suggest that α9 contains the structural determinants responsible for the pharmacological properties of the native receptor. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2515-2524
Number of pages10
Issue number13
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cochlea
  • Hair cells
  • Ion channels
  • Muscarinic receptors
  • Neurotransmitter receptors
  • Nicotinic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Drug Discovery
  • Pharmacology


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