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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Immunohistochemical localization of monoclonal antibodies to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in chick midbrain.

We used the indirect immunofluorescence method to determine the crossreactivity of a library of 57 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against each of the subunits of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAcChoR) isolated from Torpedo and Electrophorus electric organs or from fetal calf and human muscle, with specific neural elements in the midbrain of the chick. Out of 17 mAbs that recognized motor end plates on chick muscle, 14 produced a similar pattern of labeling in the midbrain: the neuronal perikarya and dendrites in the lateral spiriform nucleus (SpL) were intensely labeled, and there was moderate labeling of fibers in certain of the deeper layers of the optic tectum, which disappeared after the SpL was destroyed electrolytically. Two lines of evidence suggest that the mAbs may be crossreacting with nAcChoRs in the midbrain. First, all of the mAbs that stained the SpL also stained neuromuscular junctions in skeletal muscle, whereas none of the 40 mAbs that failed to stain end plates crossreacted with the SpL; second, in vitro immunological studies and blocking experiments on tissue sections (in which unlabeled mAbs were used to block the staining of a directly fluorescein-treated mAb) indicated the presence of mAbs specific for unique antigenic determinants on all four of the subunits (alpha, beta, gamma, and delta) from Torpedo nAcChoR in chick midbrain and muscle. On the other hand, the distribution of mAb staining in the optic tectum does not closely parallel that of either acetylcholinesterase staining or of 125I-labeled alpha-bungarotoxin binding; no toxin binding has been observed autoradiographically in the SpL, but the nucleus does contain moderately dense acetylcholinesterase staining. Take together, our observations suggest that there may be a cholinergic input to the SpL and that the projection fibers from the SpL to the optic tectum (which are also stained with an antiserum to [Leu]enkephalin) may contain presynaptic nAcChoRs. It is clear, however, that the distribution of the putative nAcChoRs, alpha-bungarotoxin binding sites, and acetylcholinesterase staining in the avian midbrain are quite different, although they do overlap to some degree in the deeper layers of the optic tectum.[1]


  1. Immunohistochemical localization of monoclonal antibodies to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in chick midbrain. Swanson, L.W., Lindstrom, J., Tzartos, S., Schmued, L.C., O'Leary, D.D., Cowan, W.M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1983) [Pubmed]
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