This highly penetrant monogenic disease could eventually provide important clues to the pathophysiology and therapy of complex polygenic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease IWR-1 supplier and nicotine dependence. Thus, chaperoning of nascent nAChRs by smoking-relevant concentrations of nicotine represents a form of nicotine-nAChR interaction that is not directly associated with ion flux through active nAChRs. Chaperoning may provide a partial explanation for the pathological process of nicotine addiction and also for the inadvertent therapeutic effects of tobacco use in Parkinson’s disease and
ADNFLE. Some effects of chaperoning may actually occur at the level of nAChR stabilization in the endoplasmic reticulum, and others arise from the consequent upregulation at the plasma membrane. The Introduction posed the problem of explaining how manipulations of nicotinic synapses, which have been considered
all-or-none machines, can produce the graded modulation of neuronal circuits and behaviors. Here we summarize the four (admittedly partial) explanations. First, recent evidence supports the graded “volume transmission” hypothesis (Ren et al., 2011). Second, the prototoxin lynx can function, probably both intracellularly and extracellularly, to direct the localization R428 research buy and activity of nAChRs. Absence of lynx has the profound modulatory effect of lengthening the critical period for ocular dominance 17-DMAG (Alvespimycin) HCl plasticity. Third, α7 nAChRs can be activated in extrasynaptic regions
by ambient concentrations of choline, with possible consequences for neuronal development as well as for circuit function during schizophrenia. Finally, the pharmacokinetics and stability of nicotine allow it to influence nAChRs in environments not reached by acetylcholine itself—extracellularly on somata, and intracellularly in the ER, where nicotine functions as a pharmacological chaperone to upregulate certain HS receptors. Furthermore, nicotine’s persistence leads to desensitization of nAChRs. For more than four centuries, nicotinic systems have unfortunately played a role in drug abuse, but we have reviewed ways in which nicotinic systems can also be manipulated to provide help for neural illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, cognitive decline, epilepsy, and schizophrenia. Nicotinic systems will continue to serve as touchstones for advances in neuroscience. We thank William Proctor and Susan Moriguchi for help with Figure 2 and T.K. Hensch, T.N. Wiesel, and R.L. Parker for helpful discussions. We received support from AG-33954, DA-11729, MH-86386, NS-11756, and the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (17RT-0127, 19KT-0032). J.M.M. is founder and shareholder of Ophidion, Inc. She has applied for U.S. patents 10322359 and 20080221013, on the use of lynx for therapeutic purposes. R.F. has received U.S.