The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor from Torpedo was immobilised in tethered membranes. Surface plasmon resonance was used to quantify the binding of ligands and antibodies to the receptor. The orientation and structural integrity of the surface-reconstituted receptor was probed using monoclonal antibodies, demonstrating that approximately 65% of the receptors present their ligand-binding site towards the lumen of the flow cell and that at least 85% of these receptors are structurally intact. The conformation of the receptor in tethered membranes was investigated with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and found to be practically identical to that of receptors reconstituted in lipid vesicles. The affinity of small receptor ligands was determined in a competition assay against a monoclonal antibody directed against the ligand-binding site which yielded dissociation constants in agreement with radioligand binding assays. The presented method for the functional immobilisation of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in tethered membranes might be generally applicable to other membrane proteins.