Tag Archives: ion channel

Newly described ion channel structure reveals how excited neurons settle down

The long anticipated structure of an ion channel reveals how excited neurons settle downThe channel, Slo2.2, helps restore neurons’ internal electrical state, and so prevents them from firing at too high a frequency for too long, which has the potential to damage the cells. With the new information about Slo2.2’s configuration, researchers can better understand how it accomplishes this. More »

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Atomic-level view provides new insight into translation of touch into nerve signals

Atomic-Level View Provides New Insight into Translation of Touch into Nerve SignalsAn ion channel responsible for dampening potentially painful sensations uses a never-before-seen mechanism to shut itself off: A lipid from the nearby cellular membrane protrudes into the channel, blocking it. More »

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Rendering of ion channel suggests how neurons fire

When a nerve cell fires, membrane proteins known as voltage-dependent ion channels open to allow the flow of charged atoms called ions across the cell membrane. The opening of voltage-dependent ion channels is mediated by voltage sensors, which contain charged amino acids that move within the membrane in response to voltage changes. Now, new research from Rockefeller University reveals how these charged amino acids are stabilized on voltage sensor paddles and how they move within the lipid membrane. More »

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Ion channels are key to estrogen’s effect on neurons

Despite being one of the body’s best-studied hormones, there’s still a lot we don’t know about estrogens. Now, by studying how these sex hormones impact brain cells at the biophysical level, scientists at Rockefeller University say they exert their powerful effects on behavior in part by affecting the speed at which ion channels in the cell membrane of a neuron open and close. More »

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MacKinnon lab’s newest picture tells action potential story

Scientists studying the tiny devices — called voltage-dependent ion channels — that are responsible for all nerve and muscle signals in living organisms for 50 years have been working like a bunch of blindfolded art critics. More »

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Hardworking sodium/ potassium pump fundamentally similar to free-flowing ion channel

Right now, in your body, tiny pumps in the fatty membranes surrounding all your cells are hard at work pushing select charged ions, such as sodium, potassium or calcium, through those membranes. Like a water pump in a high-rise apartment building overcoming the force of gravity to move water up to a tank on its roof, these ion pumps work against “electrochemical gradients” to transport ions from one side of the membrane to the other. More »

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Another Transmembrane Protein Structure Solved by Rockefeller Scientists

“Why did nature come up with such a structural plan?” ask Rockefeller University professor Roderick MacKinnon and colleagues in their Jan. 17 Nature cover article describing the three-dimensional structure of a type of chloride channel called the ClC. More »

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Rockefeller Researcher Roderick MacKinnon Receives 1999 Lasker Award

Rockefeller University Professor Roderick MacKinnon, M.D., has been named a recipient of the 1999 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award, the nation’s most distinguished honor for outstanding contributions to basic and clinical medical research. More »

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