Research Articles

Genetic reconstitution of functional acetylcholine receptor channels in mouse fibroblasts

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Science  18 Dec 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4834, pp. 1688-1694
DOI: 10.1126/science.3686008

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Abstract

Foreign genes can be stably integrated into the genome of a cell by means of DNA-mediated gene transfer techniques, and large quantities of homogenous cells that continuously express these gene products can then be isolated. Such an expression system can be used to study the functional consequences of introducing specific mutations into genes and to study the expressed protein in the absence of cellular components with which it is normally in contact. All four Torpedo acetylcholine receptor (AChR) subunit complementary DNA's were introduced into the genome of a mouse fibroblast cell by DNA-mediated gene transfer. A clonal cell line that stably produced high concentrations of correctly assembled cell surface AChR's and formed proper ligand-gated ion channels was isolated. With this new expression system, recombinant DNA, biochemical, pharmacological, and electrophysiological techniques were combined to study Torpedo AChR's in a single intact system. The physiological and pharmacological profiles of Torpedo AChR's expressed in mouse fibroblast cells differ in some details from those described earlier, and may provide a more accurate reflection of the properties of this receptor in its natural environment.