Expression and localization of muscarinic receptors in P19-derived neurons

Dorit Parnas, Eliahu Heldman, Leora Branski, Naomi Feinstein, Michal Linial*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The muscarinic acetylcholine receptors are important in a variety of physiological processes such as induction of secretion from various glands and regulation of pacemaker activity, muscle tone, and neurotransmission. To date, the muscarinic receptor family includes five members (designated m1- m5), of which m1-m4 are abundant in brain and in peripheral tissues, and m5 is found exclusively in brain, and even there at very low levels. The expression of m1-m5 receptor subtypes was studied in neurons derived from the murine embryonal carcinoma cell line P19. These cells serve as a model system for differentiation and maturation of neurons resembling CNS neurons. Our results show that P19 neurons express mainly the m2, m3, and m5 subtypes. Low levels of m1 receptors are also detected and m4 subtype is practically absent. Furthermore, muscarinic receptors in P19 neurons are functional in activating second messenger signaling pathways. The localization of m2 receptors is predominantly presynaptic, whereas the m5 subtype is mainly postsynaptic. Consequently, P19 cells provide a model system for the study of pre- and postsynaptic muscarinic acetylcholine-receptor subtypes in a proper neuronal context. This is particularly valid for the rare m5 receptors.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank A. I. Levey (Emory University, Atlanta) for the generous gifts of antibodies. We also thank the Smith laboratory in the Hebrew University for the use of their facilities. M. L. is a member of the Otto Lewie Minerva Center for molecular and cellular neurobiology in Jerusalem. This work was partially supported by the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel.


  • Adenylyl cyclase
  • Embryonal carcinoma
  • Inositol (1,4,5)- trisphosphate
  • Neuronal cell-line
  • Presynaptic receptors


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