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Ligand-gated ion channels (LGICs) mediate excitatory and inhibitory transmission in the nervous system. Among them, the pentameric or 'Cys-loop' receptors (pLGICs) compose a family that until recently was found in only eukaryotes. Yet a recent genome search identified putative homologues of these proteins in several bacterial species. Here we report the(More)
ATP-gated P2X receptors are trimeric ion channels, as recently confirmed by X-ray crystallography. However, the structure was solved without ATP and even though extracellular intersubunit cavities surrounded by conserved amino acid residues previously shown to be important for ATP function were proposed to house ATP, the localization of the ATP sites(More)
Nicotinic receptors - a family of ligand-gated ion channels that mediate the effects of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine - are among the most well understood allosteric membrane proteins from a structural and functional perspective. There is also considerable interest in modulating nicotinic receptors to treat nervous-system disorders such as Alzheimer's(More)
We present a three-dimensional model of the homopentameric alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR), that includes the extracellular and membrane domains, developed by comparative modeling on the basis of: 1), the x-ray crystal structure of the snail acetylcholine binding protein, an homolog of the extracellular domain of nAChRs; and 2),(More)
The opening of ligand-gated ion channels in response to agonist binding is a fundamental process in biology. In ATP-gated P2X receptors, little is known about the molecular events that couple ATP binding to channel opening. In this paper, we identify structural changes of the ATP site accompanying the P2X2 receptor activation by engineering extracellular(More)
The recent crystal structure of the ATP-gated P2X4 receptor revealed a static view of its architecture, but the molecular mechanisms underlying the P2X channels activation are still unknown. By using a P2X2 model based on the x-ray structure, we sought salt bridges formed between charged residues located in a region that directly connects putative(More)
Neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine (ACh) and glycine mediate fast synaptic neurotransmission by activating pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (LGICs). These receptors are allosteric transmembrane proteins that rapidly convert chemical messages into electrical signals. Neurotransmitters activate LGICs by interacting with an extracellular(More)
Ligand-gated ion channels (LGIC) play a central role in inter-cellular communication. This key function has two consequences: (i) these receptor channels are major targets for drug discovery because of their potential involvement in numerous human brain diseases; (ii) they are often found to be the target of plant and animal toxins. Together this makes(More)
INTRODUCTION Schizophrenia is an important health issue affecting almost 1% of the population with significant unmet medical needs. The classical drug targets for the treatment of schizophrenia are dopamine D2 receptors. Second-generation ('atypical') drugs block more receptors of the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) class 1 (e.g., clozapine is a(More)
P2X receptors (P2XRs) are ligand-gated ion channels activated by extracellular ATP. Although the crystal structure of the zebrafish P2X4R has been solved, the exact mode of ATP binding and the conformational changes governing channel opening and desensitization remain unknown. Here, we used voltage clamp fluorometry to investigate movements in the(More)