Acetylcholinesterase is responsible for cleaving the excess neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, from the synapse. As your students unfold the Acetylcholinesterase Active Site Cube© they will see how the tightly-packed amino acid side chains bind the substrate (acetylcholine), and discover how 3 amino acids collaborate to cleave the neurotransmitter. The acetylcholinesterase gene and the protein it encodes can be used to demonstrate a number of biological concepts including:
Effect of mutations on protein structure
How natural selection results in the emergence of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes from a wild population.
The substrate, insecticide and mutant amino acid side chain bind to the enzyme with magnets.
The 1936 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to Sir Henry Hallett Dale and Otto Loewi "for their discoveries relating to chemical transmission of nerve impulses". Sir Henry Hallett Dale discovered that acetylcholine is produced naturally in the body. By developing methods for extracting acetylcholine from animal tissues Dale and his colleagues carried out a series of experiments that revealed how the chemical works.