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Human Pain-controlling Molecule's Structure Identified

Boffins have unveiled the structure of a key molecule called 'P2X receptor' that control pain in humans .

The research might lead to the development of painkillers for recurring migraine and backache.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers including Dr Chris Thompson, Professor Alan North and Dr Sam Fountain at The University of Manchester.

Researchers examined slime moulds, microscopic amoeboid organisms to closely study the 'P2X receptors'.

Researchers found that the human P2X and the slime mould equivalent was 10 percent similar and suggest on the basis of evolutionary theory that these similar parts of the molecule probably regulated pain in humans.

"By looking at slime mould we were effectively able to turn the evolutionary clock back a billion years to see how a more primitive P2X molecule functions," Nature quoted Thompson, as saying.

"Inhibiting P2X as a potential pain-relief therapy would be the Holy Grail of rational drug design and could revolutionise the way we manage chronic pain conditions like back pain and migraine," he added.


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