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Abstract

Molecular cloning of the genes encoding the muscarinic acetylcholine receptors has shwon that receptor subtypes classified on the basis of pharmacological properties are related polypeptides encoded by distinct genes. These studies have laso revealed the existence of novel muscarinic receptor subtypes. Functional analysis of each of the subtypes expressed in mammalian cells indicates that the different subtypes activate distinct biochemical pathways, a finding that explains the tissue-specific physiological response elicited by the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.