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Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing alpha7 subunits are widely distributed in the vertebrate nervous system. In the chick ciliary ganglion such receptors generate large synaptic currents but appear to be excluded from postsynaptic densities on the cells. We show here that alpha7-containing receptors are concentrated on somatic spines in close(More)
The accumulation of functional neurotransmitter receptors by neurons during development is an essential part of synapse formation. Chick ciliary ganglion neurons express two kinds of nicotinic receptors. One is abundant, contains the alpha7 gene product, rapidly desensitizes, and binds alpha-bungarotoxin. The other is less abundant, contains multiple gene(More)
Chick ciliary neurons have somatic spines grouped in discrete clumps or mats tightly folded against the soma and enriched in nicotinic receptors containing alpha7 subunits. An embryonic ciliary neuron has one to two dozen such spine mats, all overlaid by a large presynaptic calyx engulfing the cell. Three-dimensional tomographic reconstruction from serial(More)
Dendritic spines commonly receive glutamatergic innervation at postsynaptic densities and compartmentalize calcium influx arising from synaptic signaling. Recently, it was shown that a class of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors containing alpha7 subunits is concentrated on somatic spines emanating from chick ciliary ganglion neurons. The receptors have a(More)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors serve a variety of signaling functions in the nervous system depending on cellular location, but little is known about mechanisms responsible for tethering them at specific sites. Among the most interesting are receptors containing the alpha7 gene product, because of their abundance and high relative permeability to(More)
Nicotinic receptors containing the alpha7 gene product are widely expressed in the nervous system and have a high relative permeability to Ca(2+). This permits them to influence a variety of Ca(2+)-dependent events in neurons. On chick ciliary ganglion neurons, the receptors are concentrated on somatic spines and contribute directly to postsynaptic(More)
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors serve a variety of signaling functions in the nervous system depending on cellular location, but little is known about mechanisms responsible for tethering them at specific sites. Among the most interesting are receptors containing the ␣7 gene product, because of their abundance and high relative permeability to calcium. On(More)
Using MCell, a general Monte Carlo simulator of subcellular signaling (http://mcell.cnl.salk.edu), it is now possible to simulate the process of synaptic transmission on actual 3D microanatomy derived from serial electron microscopic tomography. Here we present the methods used to construct a realistic MCell model of a chick ciliary ganglion (CG) synapse. A(More)
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