The Caenorhabditis elegans lev-8 gene encodes a novel type of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α subunit

Paula R. Towers, Ben Edwards, Janet E. Richmond, David B. Sattelle

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    We have cloned Caenorhabditis elegans lev-8 and demonstrated that it encodes a novel nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subunit (previously designated ACR-13), which has functional roles in body wall and uterine muscles as part of a levamisole-sensitive receptor. LEV-8 is an α subunit and is the first to be described from the ACR-8-like group, a new class of nAChR with atypical acetylcholine-binding site (loop C) and channel-lining motifs. A single base pair change in the first intron of lev-8 in lev-8(x15) mutants leads to alternative splicing and the introduction of a premature stop codon. lev-8(x15) worms are partially resistant to levamisole-induced egg laying and paralysis, phenotypes rescued by expression of the wild-type gene. lev-8(x15) worms also show reduced rates of pharyngeal pumping. Electrophysiological recordings from body wall muscle show that currents recorded in response to levamisole have reduced amplitude in lev-8(x15) compared with wild-type animals. Consistent with these phenotypic observations, green fluorescent protein fused to LEV-8 is expressed in body wall and uterine muscle, motor neurons and epithelial-derived socket cells. Thus, LEV-8 is a levamisole receptor subunit and exhibits the most diverse expression pattern of any invertebrate nAChR subunit studied to date. © 2005 International Society for Neurochemistry.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of neurochemistry
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


    • ACR-13 subunit
    • Caenorhabditis elegans
    • Egg-laying behaviour
    • lev-8 gene
    • Levamisole resistance
    • Nicotinic acetylcholine receptor


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