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Latest Ion channels Stories

2012-03-08 15:52:48

The mechanism involved in the detection of hyperosmolarity by TRP channels is clarified, with a newly discovered molecule preventing apoptosis. A large change in the volume of a cell, from its basal level, is detrimental to its health. Therefore, our cells are equipped with mechanisms to maintain their constant volume. When a cell detects an environmental change that will alter its volume, due to changes in the osmotic pressure, it will adjust its internal water content...

2012-03-02 13:39:23

Heat-sensitive proteins assembled in different combinations distinguish temperatures, from a warm handshake to spicy foods The winter sun feels welcome, but not so a summer sunburn. Research over the past 20 years has shown that proteins on the surface of nerve cells enable the body to sense several different temperatures. Now scientists have discovered how just a few of these proteins, called ion channels, distinguish perhaps dozens of discrete temperatures, from mildly warm to very hot....

2012-02-29 00:30:32

Sperm cannot detect smells. According to a 2003 study by German and American scientists, a component of the Lily of the Valley scent known as Bourgeonal alters the calcium balance of human sperm and attracts the sperm. The “Lily of the Valley phenomenon” — also the title of a book about smelling — was born as a result of this discovery that sperm act as swimming olfactory cells which follow a “scent trail” laid by the egg. However, a detailed explanation...

2012-01-27 16:04:28

Researchers discover dual role of key player in immune system Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine researchers have identified a new and unusual role for a key player in the human immune system. A protein initially believed to regulate one routine function within the cell has proven vital for another critical step in the activation of the immune system. That protein, STIM1, was previously known to sense a change in calcium within immune cells, a process that occurs when...

Ion Channel Makes African Naked Mole-Rat Insensitive To Acid-Induced Pain
2011-12-21 04:54:27

Researchers of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch have found out why the African naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber), one of the world´s most unusual mammals, feels no pain when exposed to acid. African naked mole-rats live densely packed in narrow dark burrows where ambient carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are very high. In body tissues, CO2 is converted into acid, which continuously activates pain sensors. However, naked mole-rats are an...

2011-12-15 16:26:29

A discovery in fruit flies may be able to tell us more about how animals, including humans, sense potentially dangerous discomforts. Researchers at Duke University Medical Center uncovered naturally occurring variations of a gene named TRPA1 that is important for the function of pain-sensing neurons throughout the animal kingdom. The gene makes an ion channel, which floods sensory neurons with calcium ions when the fly is near a heat source, causing fruit fly larvae to respond with a...

2011-12-13 11:48:56

Drawing on X-ray crystallography and experimental data, as well as a software suite for predicting and designing protein structures, a UC Davis School of Medicine researcher has developed an algorithm that predicts what has been impossible to generate in the laboratory: the conformational changes in voltage-gated sodium channels when they are at rest or actively transmitting a signal in muscle and nerve cells. Structural modeling of the voltage-sensing mechanism is important because it...

2011-12-12 22:14:23

A new study in the Journal of General Physiology (http://www.jgp.org) provides fresh insight into voltage-gated channels–transmembrane ion channels that play a critical role in the function of neuronal and muscle tissue. Voltage-gated ion channels underlie signaling of most electrically active cells. These important ion channels have long challenged physiologists with the question of how membrane voltage drives the structural transitions between closed and open states. For more than...

2011-12-10 02:00:24

People with a certain form of inherited hearing loss have increased sensitivity to low frequency vibration, according to a study by Professor Thomas Jentsch of the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP)/Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) Berlin-Buch and Professor Gary Lewin (MDC), conducted in cooperation with clinicians from Madrid, Spain and Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The research findings, which were published in Nature Neuroscience...

Addressing Pain And Disease On The Fly
2011-12-07 09:29:43

How fruit flies can teach us about curing chronic pain and halting mosquito-borne diseases Studies of a protein that fruit flies use to sense heat and chemicals may someday provide solutions to human pain and the control of disease-spreading mosquitoes. In the current issue of the journal Nature, biologist Paul Garrity of the National Center for Behavioral Genomics at Brandeis University and his team, spearheaded by KyeongJin Kang and Vince Panzano in the Garrity lab, report how fruit...


Word of the Day
grass-comber
  • A landsman who is making his first voyage at sea; a novice who enters naval service from rural life.
According to the OED, a grass-comber is also 'a sailor's term for one who has been a farm-labourer.'