TCBG Seminar

Cholesterol in the Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor

Dr. Jerome Henin
Department of Chemistry
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
3:00 pm (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


The nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) is a ligand-gated ion channel responsible for nerve impulse transmission in many neuronal areas of the brain, making it critical for memory and cognition, and linked to major neuronal disorders. Functionally, this transmembrane protein is known to interact with lipids in a complex way, requiring the presence of lipids such as cholesterol to function. Starting from functional data and a medium-resolution cryo-EM structure of the receptor, we formulate the hypothesis that cholesterol acts as an intrinsic structural component of the protein transmembrane domain. The hypothesis is explored through explicit molecular dynamics simulations.

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