Chemical and Molecular Basis of Nerve Activity by David Nachmansohn

By David Nachmansohn

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W e do not know what fraction of the acetylcholine released must be hydrolyzed and within what period of time to permit the return of Na conductance to its normal level. 0 msec. On this basis one would arrive at a ratio of one molecule of acetylcholine metabolized for 500-1000 Na ions entering the fiber. The process may, of course, be slightly faster or slower, which would change the ratio correspondingly. These figures, although only approximations, appear to be of an order of magnitude quite appropriate for a trigger process accelerating the movement of Na by removing charges or opening a barrier in some other way.

And a turnover time of 3 - 4 X 1 0 ~ second. In more recent un­ published observations, Dr. Claire Lawler, using different procedures of purification, obtained a sharp peak with a sedimentation rate which would indicate a molecular weight in the range of 300,000. The studies are still in progress and a definite value for the turnover number cannot be given at present. However, the data available have shown that acetyl­ cholinesterase is one of the fastest enzymes known. Only catalase has a much higher turnover number.

Interesting relationships and a coincidence between function and high enzyme activity were again found (Nachmansohn, 1940a). In the spinal cord the concentration is high at an early period of gestation; at that time concentrations in various centers of the brain are low; there they begin to rise only in the later period of gestation (Fig. 9 ) . It is noteworthy that in the spinal cord there is in the later stages even an apparent decrease. This fall is, however, as in the muscle of the chick described before, due to the increase in inactive material, such as, for instance, myelin and other supporting 19 36 72 95 105 79 73 66 72 110 37 51 204 619 935 1091 1195 2400 2960 1350 3183 4419 5299 12261 0 10 21 35 110 1 19 2 10 20 1 21 Guinea pig Rabbit Cat Rat α W - weight in milligrams.

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