Functional modulation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor by tyrosine phosphorylation

Jessica F. Hopfield, David W. Tank, Paul Greengard, Richard L. Huganir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Scopus citations


Tyrosine-specific protein phosphorylation has been implicated in the regulation of cell transformation and proliferation1,2. However, recent studies have shown that the expression of protein tyrosine kinases in adult brain is very high, suggesting that tyrosine-specific protein phosphorylation may also have a role in the regulation of neuronal function3-6. Although a number of substrate proteins are phosphorylated on tyrosine residues, the functional alteration of proteins by tyrosine phosphorylation has previously been convincingly demonstrated only for protein tyrosine 7-9kinases. The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, a neurotransmitter-gated ion channel, is phosphorylated by a protein tyrosine kinase in post-synaptic membranes in vitro and in vivo10,11. We demonstrate here that this tyrosine phosphorylation increases the rate of the rapid phase of desensitization of the nicotinic receptor, as measured by single channel recording of purified nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, when reconstituted in lipid vesicles. These data provide direct evidence for the regulation of ion channel properties by tyrosine phosphorylation. The results, which demonstrate a functional role of tyrosine phosphorylation in the nervous system, suggest a widespread role for tyrosine phosphorylation in neuronal signal transduction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-680
Number of pages4
Issue number6200
StatePublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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