Characterization of the presynaptic muscarinic receptor in synaptosomes of torpedo electric organ by means of kinetic and equilibrium binding studies

Yoel Kloog, Daniel M. Michaelson, Mordechai Sokolovsky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The ligand binding properties of presynaptic muscarinic receptors present in purified synaptosomal fraction isolated from the electric organ of Torpedo have been studied, using the specific tritiated antagonist N-methyl-4-piperidylbenzilate ([3H]-4NMPB). Direct and competition binding studies revealed that antagonists bind with high affinity to the presynaptic receptor, with saturability occurring at very low ligand concentration, in a stereospecific manner, and according to a simple mass action law. The kinetic results for [3H]4NMPB binding could best be fitted by a two-step sequential isomerization model. The affinities of both agonists and antagonists decreased as a function of increasing ionic strength. Analysis of agonist binding was performed according to the two-site model suggested by Birdsall and Hulme8. Varying the buffer conditions resulted in changes both in the affinities of the agonist for the two agonist sites and in their relative proportions. For a given buffer composition the proportion of high and low affinity sites is constant, but agonists affinities decrease as a function of increase in ionic strength. The finding that at a given ionic strength the proportion of high and low affinity agonist sites can be manipulated suggests that agonist binding sites in Torpedo receptor may interconvert. The apparent dissociation constants measured in Torpedo physiological buffer for both agonists and antagonists are in the same range as the concentrations affecting synaptosomal ACh release. The affinity of agonists towards the presynaptic muscarinic Torpedo receptor was found to be higher than their affinity towards the postsynaptic muscarinic receptor, e.g. in cat and rabbit irides, mouse cortex, etc., and closely resembles the affinity in mouse medulla pons. The localization of pre- and postsynaptic muscarinic receptors in view of their different binding properties is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-115
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 Jul 1980


  • muscarinic agonists
  • muscarinic artagonists
  • muscarinic receptor
  • postsynaptic receptor
  • presynaptic receptor
  • receptors


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