Volume 89 Issue 4 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: January 24, 2011

Knockout Pictures

X-ray structures of general anesthetics binding to an ion channel could aid search for new anesthetics
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: X-ray structure, anesthetic, ion channel, blue-green algae

A close-up of an ion channel from blue-green algae reveals that two common anesthetics bind to it in roughly the same place (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature09647). This information could help researchers design new anesthetics. General anesthetics keep patients unconscious during surgeries, but it’s not clear how they work at the molecular level. Now, a team led by Pierre-Jean Corringer of France’s Pasteur Institute has determined the X-ray crystal structure of the algal channel, which . . .

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