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Helping the brain's messengers get from A to B
Date:6/10/2010

s opening and closing.

"The study of membrane transport proteins and the genes that encode them offers the opportunity to investigate many aspects of disease processes. The opening and closing of the transporter 'gates' is orchestrated by binding of the transported substances and by inhibitory drugs in ways that could not be determined by previous approaches that were unable to resolve movements in individual proteins," says one senior author, Dr. Jonathan Javitch, who is the Lieber Professor of Experimental Therapeutics in the Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology and the Center for Molecular Recognition at Columbia University Medical Center.

Exactly how the gates open and close, and why, is not yet fully understood; however, the results from this research are an important step in that direction.

"Advances in technology have enabled cell biologists to see molecular processes at a level of detail that was not possible even in the last decade. Just as the Hubble telescope and computer-assisted tomography have allowed scientists to view objects in outer space and inside the body more clearly and in greater detail, biologists now have new tools to view what is happening at the cellular level and powerful computational methods to mimic these processes in the computer. This research has brought both advances to bear on a fundamental problem in neural transmission," says study co-author Dr. Harel Weinstein, chairman and Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Physiology and Biophysics, and director of the Institute for Computational Biomedicine (ICB) at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Weinstein credits the work of his colleague Dr. Scott Blanchard, associate professor of physiology and biophysics at Weill Cornell Medical College, in providing the expertise in a new technology that is crucial to this research. Dr. Blanchard and his team developed this new technology over numerous years and it is now at a place where functional motions of i
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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