Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors comprise a large family of G protein-coupled receptors that are involved in the regulation of many important functions of the central and peripheral nervous system. To achieve such a large range of physiological effects, these receptors interact with a large array of accessory proteins including scaffold molecules, ion channels and enzymes that operate as molecular transducers of muscarinic function in addition to the canonical heterotrimeric G proteins. Interestingly, as demonstrated for others G protein-coupled receptors, this type of receptor is also able to oligomerise, a fact that has been shown to play a critical role in their subcellular distribution, trafficking, and fine tuning of cholinergic signalling. On the other hand, the specificity of these receptor interactions may be largely determined by the occurrence of precise protein-interacting motifs, posttranslational modifications, and the differential tissue distribution and stoichiometry of the receptor-interacting proteins. Thus, the exhaustive cataloguing and documentation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor-interacting proteins and the grasp of their specific function will explain key physiological differences in muscarinic-mediated cholinergic transmission. Overall, a better comprehension of the muscarinic receptor interactome will have a significant impact on the cholinergic pharmacology and thus provide previously unrealised opportunities to achieve greater specificity in muscarinic-related drug discovery and diagnostics.
Keywords: G protein coupled receptors, muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, interacting proteins, dimerisation, interactome, signal transduction, intracellular loops, scaffold proteins, mAChRIPs, receptorsome
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