Kainate receptor channel opening and gating mechanism. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/38778115/)

These scientists wanted to learn more about a specific type of protein in our brains called kainate receptors. These receptors play an important role in how our brain cells communicate with each other and are involved in different brain conditions like epilepsy, depression, and autism.

To understand how these receptors work, the scientists used a special technique called cryo-electron microscopy to take pictures of the kainate receptor GluK2 while it was interacting with certain chemicals. They found that these chemicals, called glutamate, lectin concanavalin A, and BPAM344, can help the receptor stay active for longer periods of time.

By studying these pictures, the scientists discovered that the kainate receptor has a specific way of opening up to allow ions to flow through. This information could help them develop new medications to treat brain disorders in the future.

Overall, the scientists used advanced technology to look closely at a protein in the brain to understand how it works and how it could be targeted to help people with neurological conditions.

Gangwar SP., Yelshanskaya MV., Nadezhdin KD., Yen LY., Newton TP., Aktolun M., Kurnikova MG., Sobolevsky AI. Kainate receptor channel opening and gating mechanism. Nature. 2024 May 22. doi: 10.1038/s41586-024-07475-0.

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