Theranyx scientists reveal for the first time the 3D structure of a crucial neuroreceptor. The achievement has great implications for understanding the basic mechanism of electrical signal transmission between neurons and might help to design novel medicines to treat various neurological diseases.
Neurons are the cells of our brain, spinal cord, and overall nervous system. They form complex networks to communicate with each other through electrical signals that are carried by chemicals. These chemicals bind to structures on the surface of neurons that are called neuroreceptors, opening or closing electrical pathways that allow transmission of the signal from neuron to neuron. One neuroreceptor, called 5HT3-R, is involved in conditions like chemotherapy-induced nausea, anxiety, and various neurological disorders such as schizophrenia. Despite its clinical importance, the exact way that 5HT3-R works has been elusive because its complexity has prevented scientists from determining its three-dimensional structure.
Publishing in Nature, Theranyx researchers have now uncovered for the first time the 3D structure of 5HT3-R, opening the way to understanding other neuroreceptors as well
More information: Hassaine G, Deluz C, Grasso L, Wyss R, Tol MB, Hovius R, Graff A, Stahlberg H, Tomizaki T, Desmyter A, Moreau C, Li X-D, Poitevin F, Vogel H, Nury H. X-ray structure of the mouse serotonin 5-HT3 receptor. Nature DOI: 10.1038/nature13552