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Protein receptor cools passion of 'kiss and run' nerve cells

ost-synaptic side, there is a range of protein receptors that vary in sensitivity to the amount of neurotransmitter that's released. Some scientists think if the release of neurotransmitter can be controlled to take into account the sensitivity and roles played by post-synaptic receptors, new drugs for treating a range of neurological conditions might be developed.

Alford thinks that controlling agent may turn out to be 5-HT.

"When you release 5-HT onto the terminal (pre-synaptic) cell, you can switch the relative activation of different receptors on the post-synaptic cell," he said. "You don't just change the amount of neurotransmitter released, but you change what's activated -- the balance of different things that are activated in the next cell down the chain. In a sense, it's like you've turned a channel."

Heidi Hamm, professor and chair of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University, is a co-author of the PNAS paper. Other authors are Huzefa Photowala, Trillium Blackmer and Eric Schwartz, all former graduate students or post-doctoral researchers in Alford's UIC laboratory.


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Source:University of Illinois at Chicago


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