Cholesterol content in the membrane promotes key lipid-protein interactions in a pentameric serotonin-gated ion channel

Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels (pLGICs) are pharmaceutically important neuroreceptors, embedded in the lipid membrane of nerve cells, which mediate fast synaptic communication and are involved in several neurological disorders. They are activated by the binding of neurotransmitters, like serotonin, which trigger conformational changes culminating with the opening of the ion channel. However the details of their working mechanisms, including the role played by the membrane,  are still not fully understood at the molecular level.

In this paper, using molecular dynamics simulations, TYC members have investigated the interface between a prototypical pLGICs and the membrane as a function of lipid composition, uncovering how cholesterol promotes lipid interactions with parts of the neuroreceptor that are key to its function.

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