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Logo of jbcThe Journal of Biological Chemistry
J Biol Chem. 2016 April 22; 291(17): 8876.
PMCID: PMC4861455

Antibody Sensor Shows when the M1 Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptor Is Active during Learning and Memory

An Antibody Biosensor Establishes the Activation of the M1 Muscarinic Acetylcholine Receptor during Learning and Memory

See referenced article, J. Biol. Chem. 2016, 291, 8862–8875

The M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M1 mAChR) is a G protein-coupled receptor involved in learning and memory. In designing new drugs that target this receptor, it is important to have a method of determining whether this receptor is activated during memory and after drug treatments. In this Paper of the Week, Andrew B. Tobin at the University of Leicester and colleagues showed that the serine at position 228 in M1 mAChR is phosphorylated when the receptor is activated. Using antibodies that detect this phosphorylation event, the researchers tracked the activation of the M1 mAChR in the hippocampus of mouse brains following memory acquisition and drug treatment. The authors say, “determining the phosphorylation status of the M1 mAChR at Ser228 not only provides a means of establishing receptor activation following drug treatment both in vitro and in vivo but also allows for the mapping of the activation status of the M1 mAChR in the hippocampus following memory acquisition thereby establishing a link between M1 mAChR activation and hippocampus-based memory and learning.”

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M1 mAChR is activated in the hippocampus following drug treatment and memory acquisition. Mice were subjected to a fear conditioning training protocol or to an unpaired immediate foot shock as a control; 30 min later, tissue was fixed by transcardial perfusion and sections obtained and stained with phosphorylated Ser228-specific antibody (upper panel) or anti-c-FOS antibody (lower panel).

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