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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

NCCS studies decode 2 key brain receptors

Play crucial role in motor coordination, learning, high-frequency hearing, other brain functions

By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: January 12, 2020 4:33:49 am
NCCS studies decode 2 key brain receptors (From left to right) NCCS scientists Ananth Burada, Rajesh Vinnakota and Janesh Kumar. (Express)

TWO NEW research studies, published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, by the scientists of National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS) could lead to a unique insight into the mechanism behind a wide range of nervous system disorders and diseases.

Researchers led by Dr Janesh Kumar have captured the first three-dimensional views of the GluD1-subtype glutamate receptor, which plays a crucial role in motor coordination and motor learning, high-frequency hearing and are also key to many other brain functions.

They are also linked to social and cognitive deficits and to neuronal disorders such as schizophrenia and cocaine addiction.

The study creates a robust platform for understanding the functions of these receptors and developing therapeutics to treat neurological disorders associated with GluD1 dysfunction.

The findings show an unprecedented domain organisation of GluD1 receptors distinct from that observed in other members of the glutamate receptor family, stated an official statement from NCCS. It highlights the fact that glutamate receptor ion channels are not built in the same manner and provides insights into molecular underpinnings of receptor functions.

Another study provides insights into the various movements underlying functions of GluK3 receptor, an important brain receptor that helps nerve cells communicate with each other. Typical functions of the brain depend on the ability of nerve cells to transmit electrical signals.

GluK3 receptor belongs to the family of glutamate receptor ion channels that are fundamentally involved in this electrical transmission in the brain. These receptors underlie a multitude of high cognitive functions, including learning and memory, and their malfunction is implicated in a remarkable range of diseases of the nervous system such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and others, researchers said, adding that it was critical to understand how they operated and how their functions were regulated.

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