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Home / Science / The ‘map’ near the atom reveals the structure for maintaining the pH balance in cells

The ‘map’ near the atom reveals the structure for maintaining the pH balance in cells



The 'map' near the atom reveals the structure for maintaining the pH balance in cells

Cryo-EM image of a proton activated chloride channel (PAC). Image Provider: Dr. Wei Lü, Van Andel Institute

For the first time, scientists envision a new layer of molecular gateways that help maintain the pH balance in brain cells, a key function that keeps cells alive and helps prevent strokes and injuries. other brain injury.


These gates, called proton activated chloride (PAC) channels, nest inside the cell membrane and regulate the movement of small molecules called chloride ions in and out of the cell. This allows cells to sense and react to their environment.

“Proton-activated chloride channels have only recently been described but they are very important for cell survival, especially in the brain,”

; said Wei Lü, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Van Andel Institute. and co-author of the study, said. was published today in nature. “Our new images, along with our findings on how these channels work, provide much-needed molecular blueprints that will help answer long-standing questions in the field and Provides new insights into how these channels can be targeted at therapists in illness. “

The pictures show a bouquet-like structure, with parts that change configuration in response to ambient pH. As the pH changes from alkaline to acid, an important pH sensor moves from its “resting” position and is inserted into the “acid bag”, signaling that the portal allows ions to enter the cell. will open. This particular mechanism has never been described before.

This study is a collaboration between Lü Laboratory at the Van Andel Institute and a team led by Zhaozhu Qiu, Ph.D., assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author of the paper. The Johns Hopkins team first reported the discovery of PAC in Science last year.

Solving PAC constructs is another important, early step towards understanding which can one day affect human health.


Identified the main protein-activated channel of protein


More information:
Zheng Ruan et al, Structure and mechanism of pH sensing of proton activated chloride channels, nature (Year 2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-020-2875-7

Provided by Van Andel Research Institute

Quote: ‘Map’ near the atom revealing the structure for maintaining the pH balance in cells (2020, November 4) retrieved November 5, 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020 -11-near-atomic-reveal-ph-cells. html

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