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Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter, which means it acts as a chemical messenger in the nervous system. It plays a vital role in transmitting signals between nerve cells and regulating various physiological processes in the body. Acetylcholine is synthesized from choline and acetyl coenzyme A by the enzyme choline acetyltransferase.

In the central nervous system, acetylcholine is involved in cognitive functions such as attention, learning, and memory. It helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and plays a role in arousal and alertness. Acetylcholine is also crucial for motor control, as it transmits signals from motor neurons to muscles, enabling muscle contraction.

In the peripheral nervous system, acetylcholine functions in the autonomic nervous system. It is released by parasympathetic neurons and serves as the primary neurotransmitter in the parasympathetic division, which controls rest and digest functions. Acetylcholine regulates heart rate, digestion, and other involuntary processes.

Dysfunction or imbalances in acetylcholine are associated with various neurological disorders. For instance, a deficiency of acetylcholine is observed in Alzheimer's disease, which leads to memory impairment and cognitive decline. Myasthenia gravis is another condition where acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction are targeted by the immune system, causing muscle weakness and fatigue.

Acetylcholinesterase (EC, e.g. from Torpedo californica, TcAChE) hydrolysizes the neurotransmitter acetylcholine , producing group. ACh directly binds (via its nucleophilic Oγ atom) within the catalytic triad of (ACh/TcAChE structure 2ace). The residues are also important in the ligand recognition. After this binding acetylcholinesterase ACh.

In summary, acetylcholine is a crucial neurotransmitter involved in cognitive, motor, and autonomic functions. Its role in the nervous system is diverse and essential for maintaining proper communication between nerve cells and regulating various physiological processes throughout the body.

Additional Resources

For additional information, see: Alzheimer's Disease

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