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Image of the Month: GluD to a Mystery

Image of the Month: GluD to a Mystery

Neurons need to work together to help the body move, make memories and perform other neurological functions. To do this, they trade messages through chemicals called neurotransmitters. Among many types of neurotransmitters, biophysicist Albert Lau studies one called glutamate. Glutamate binds to three families of receptors to let charged molecules pass in and out of the neuron. However, a fourth receptor family, called GluD seen here, does not bind to glutamate nor seems to have a role in opening ion channels. So, what does the GluD receptor do? To learn more about GluD’s function, scientists will need to simulate neurotransmitter binding to a fully intact GluD receptor embedded in a cell membrane and watch how it behaves.

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