Native structure of AMPA receptor in rodent model may lead to discovering mechanism behind conditions such as Alzheimer's disease Source: Oregon Health & Science University
Scientists have revealed the structure of a critical receptor in the brain associated with learning, memory, behavior and mood. The new research is the first to reveal the structure of AMPA receptors in their natural state. This discovery could lead to new insight about the mechanism behind a wide range of nervous system disorders and diseases.
Researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory used cryo-electron microscopy and targeted mass spectrometry to reveal the architecture and subunit arrangement of AMPA receptors in rodents.
AMPA receptors are activated by the neurotransmitter glutamate, forming permeable ion channels that carry signals between cells throughout the nervous system
By discerning the makeup of the working structure in rodents, scientists can isolate the same structures in post-mortem samples of human brains and make comparisons.
They may then be able to determine differences between the structure and organization of healthy AMPA receptors and those in people with neurodegenerative diseases.