This chapter explains the synaptochemistry of acetylcholine metabolism in a cholinergic neuron. One of the most important features of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) is its membrane-bound state within the neuron. Such membranes include the surface membrane of the cell and the internal membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum; early fractionation studies have revealed the latter to be a microsomal enzyme. Recent studies emphasize that, among surface membranes, the postsynaptic membrane is a major source of enzyme activity. Another important facet of AChE biochemistry is related to the molecular structure of the enzyme. AChE isolated from the electroplax is a multisubunit enzyme; studies have also proved that AChE of the mammalian brain is a polymer. The fact that AChE is a multisubunit enzyme raises the important question of whether or not AChE is an allosteric enzyme. Important discoveries have been made regarding the molecular biology of the active center of the AChE molecule. The chapter presents an overview of histochemistry of acetylcholinesterase in the spinal motoneuron.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience