Receptors may be grouped into superfamilies, according to their mechanism. Muscarinic receptors belong to one such superfamily, that of the G-protein coupled receptors. Subtypes of muscarinic receptors may be defined according to their primary amino acid sequence, their mechanism and their pharmacology. However, there is as yet no consistent scheme to explain the pharmacology and function of each molecular subtype. The pharmacological tools which distinguish between muscarinic receptor subtypes are described and the emerging evidence for the location of the ligand binding site is discussed.
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