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

ndividual proteins can be directly visualized in nearly real time.

"Understanding molecular movements is important because enzyme functions hinge on motion," says Dr. Blanchard, another senior author of the new study. "To observe molecules, we attach reporter molecules called fluorophores that can be directly measured at the single-molecule scale. In so doing, motional information can be obtained about the protein to which they are linked."

In the current study, the investigators used this technique to study the LeuT transporter. They were able to monitor changes of individual molecules and reported observing two distinct states which they believe report on the open and closed states of the gating mechanism.

Dr. Weinstein notes that SSRIs were developed without a real understanding of how they work and only now researchers are beginning to understand how they bind and affect the transporters. "These medications are effective in treating many mental illnesses, including depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder, suggesting that these disorders have some relation to serotonin levels in the brain. Our study is the start of understanding how SSRIs work at a mechanistic level, and why they work in some people and not in others."


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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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