Related topics: brain · cells · nerve cells · cell membrane

Uncovering the structure and gating mechanism of a7 protein

UT Southwestern researchers have identified the structure of a key member of a family of proteins called nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in three different shapes. The work, published online today in Cell, could eventually ...

Scientists pioneer new method of measuring electricity in cells

Electricity is a key ingredient in living bodies. We know that voltage differences are important in biological systems; they drive the beating of the heart and allow neurons to communicate with one another. But for decades, ...

The pressure sensor of the Venus flytrap

All plant cells can be made to react by touch or injury. The carnivorous Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) has highly sensitive organs for this purpose: sensory hairs that register even the weakest mechanical stimuli, amplify ...

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Ion channel

Ion channels are pore-forming proteins that help establish and control the small voltage gradient across the plasma membrane of all living cells (see cell potential) by allowing the flow of ions down their electrochemical gradient. They are present in the membranes that surround all biological cells. The study of ion channels is known as channelomics and involves many scientific techniques such as voltage clamp electrophysiology (in particular patch clamp), immunohistochemistry, and RT-PCR.

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