Regulation of acetylcholinesterase synthesis and assembly by muscle activity. Effects of tetrodotoxin

C. Fernandez-Valle, R. L. Rotundo

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25 Scopus citations


The abundance and distribution of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) oligomeric forms expressed in skeletal muscle is strongly dependent upon the activity state of the cells. In this study, we examined several stages of AChE biogenesis to determine which ones were regulated by muscle activity. Inhibiting spontaneous contraction of tissue-cultured quail myotubes with tetrodotoxin (TTX) reduces AChE activity by approximately 30% of the levels found in actively contracting cells. This decrease is due primarily to the loss of 20 S asymmetric (collagen-tailed) AChE from TTX-treated cultures and is reflected in reduced pool sizes for both cell surface and intracellular AChE molecules. Using monoclonal anti-AChE antibodies to immunoprecipitate and quantify isotopically labeled enzyme molecules, we show that AChE down-regulation by TTX is not mediated through changes in the rates of synthesis or degradation of AChE polypeptide chains. Newly synthesized AChE polypeptides acquire enzymatic activity at the same rate in TTX-treated cultures as in actively contracting cells, however, a larger percentage of catalytically active dimers and tetramers are secreted from TTX-treated cultures compared with controls. These results suggest that TTX-induced down-regulation of asymmetric AChE occurs at the level of assembly of globular AChE molecules with collagen-like tail subunits in the Golgi apparatus, rather than through changes in the availability of catalytic subunits. Thus, post-translational mechanisms appear to play an important role in regulating the abundance and distribution of this important synaptic component in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14043-14049
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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