The acetylcholine nicotinic receptor is among the most studied receptors in neuroscience. Involved in muscle contraction and a wide variety of other neurological functions, including the processing of nicotine, it was the first receptor to be isolated and observed at the molecular level, providing a major research pathway for scientists working in neuroscience, biochemistry, pharmacology, and behavioral science. This book describes four decades of scientific research that inform our current understanding of this receptor.
Jean-Pierre Changeux and Stuart J. Edelstein played important roles in pioneering research on the acetylcholine nicotinic receptor and on allosteric proteins, and here they reveal the complete scientific trajectory of that research. They begin with a historical perspective, describing how several fields converged around a single receptor and then explain the initial receptor purification and characterization. Subsequent chapters trace the investigations into various aspects of receptor structure and function, including the chemical structure of the binding site, the identity and properties of the ion channel, and the mechanism of signal transmission. In the final portion of the book, Changeux and Edelstein discuss recent studies on the three-dimensional structure of the receptor molecule and share their novel understanding of inherited diseases such as congenital myasthenia and epilepsy. They also address the integration of the receptor into its synaptic membrane environment and its distribution, physiology, and regulation in brain functions and cognition.
Richly illustrated and lucidly written, this book provides an exceptional opportunity for scientists and students to follow a historic advance in our knowledge of molecular mechanisms and the workings of the brain.
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"This book is unlike any recent scientific book. It is more like a forty-year research meeting in one of the world's most creative neurobiology laboratories-an intellectual tour de force that surveys an extraordinary range of fields of inquiry, from snake venom action to myasthenia gravis, addiction, learning, schizophrenia, and cognitive function. To undertake the study of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in all its aspects requires a Renaissance mind, and it is exactly this that Changeux and Edelstein have brought to bear on one of the most important topics in neuroscience." -Tamas Bartfai,Chair and Professor, Department of Neuropharmacology The Scripps Research Institute
"The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor has served for many decades as the prototype for neurotransmitter receptors. Acetylcholine was the first neurotransmitter shown to be involved in the function of the mammalian brain and its nicotinic receptor the first receptor to be characterized. Jean-Pierre Changeux is the indisputable pioneer in this field. This volume summarizes with great lucidity the history of a highly important topic in neuroscience." -Paul Greengard, Nobel laureate in Medicine The Rockefeller University
"One hesitates to call this book a monograph, for despite its comprehensive treatment of a complex subject it is not meant solely for specialized readers. In concentrating on a single class of neuroreceptors, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, it seeks to draw out general principles which apply more widely. It will therefore be welcomed not only by serious workers and students in the field of neurobiology, but also by anyone interested in the broader field of neuroscience." -Sir Aaron Klug OM FRS, Nobel laureate in Chemistry University of Cambridge
"From the molecule to thought itself-an extraordinary journey! Changeux and Edelstein are uniquely qualified to relate this utterly fascinating story, whose philosophical implications are no less important than the scientific research underlying them." -Jean-Marie Lehn, Nobel laureate in Chemistry ISIS-Université Louis Pasteur, StrasbourgAbout the Author:
Jean-Pierre Changeux is a professor at the Collège de France and at the Institut Pasteur, where he is also director of the receptors and cognitions unit. Stuart J. Edelstein is a professor of biochemistry at the University of Geneva.
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