Influences of trypsin and collagenase on acetylcholine responses of physically isolated single neurons of Aplysia californica

Y. Oyama, N. Hori, C. N. Allen, D. O. Carpenter

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6 Scopus citations


1. The influences of enzyme treatments (trypsin and collagenase) on responses to perfused acetylcholine were examined on physically isolated single Aplysia neurons, using the voltage-clamp, internal perfusion, and rapid external perfusion technique. 2. During treatment with trypsin (0.025 to 0.1%) for 10 to 30 min at room temperature (22 to 25°C), the peak amplitude of the Na current induced by acetylcholine increased in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and the decay in the continued presence of acetylcholine was slowed. This effect of trypsin treatment was irreversible after washing for 60 min without enzyme. 3. Edrophonium, a cholinesterase inhibitor, has previously been shown to augment the Na acetylcholine response in this preparation by inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. After treatment of the neuron with trypsin, the augmentation after edrophonium was abolished. Furthermore, in the presence of edrophonium, trypsin also failed to increase the response. The dose-response curve for acetylcholine after treatment of trypsin was similar to that in the presence of edrophonium. These results suggest that the modification of the current response by trypsin is a result of removal of cholinesterase activity from the membrane. 4. In contrast to the effects of trypsin, collagenase (0.03 to 0.1%) for 10 to 60 min did not change the current amplitude of the acetylcholine response. However, collagenase treatment did alter the kinetics of the acetylcholine response in a dose-dependent manner, in that the rate of decay was accelerated. A similar acceleration was seen in the acetylcholine responses on other neurons which were due to Cl or K currents, suggesting that the effect was independent on the type of channel. This effect of collagenase was reversible after 30 to 60 min of washing of the neuron. 5. In the presence of edrophonium or after the treatment with trypsin, collagenase still accelerated the current kinetics of the acetylcholine response, indicating that cholinesterase activity is not related to this effect. Furthermore, heated collagenase (presumably inactivated) had a similar action, suggesting that the enzymatic activity of collagenase is not related to the modification of the response. 6. These results suggest that Aplysia acetylcholinesterase is sensitive to trypsin but not to collagenase. However, the preparation of collagenase used in these studies contains some factor which alters the response to acetylcholine, but this effect is reversible and unrelated to enzymatic activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-205
Number of pages13
JournalCellular and Molecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Aplysia neuron
  • acetylcholine
  • cholinesterase
  • collagenase
  • trypsin
  • voltage clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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