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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Generation of a screening platform for the Cys-loop superfamily of ligand gated ion channels

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This project aims to extract and generate functional soluble LBDs which will be used in the drug developmental process.

Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are members of the Cys-loop superfamily of ligand-gated ion channels. Each channel is composed of five subunits that vary depending on the available subunits and their expression profiles. These channels subunits are generally non-identical but physiologically important homopentamers also exist. The arrangement of each subunit has a major impact on the functional properties of each channel. For nAChRs, the ion conduction pathway is formed at the common subunit interface while the ligand-binding site is located at the interface between adjacent subunits. These extracellular ligand-binding domains can be extracted from the channel and studied independently of the transmembrane section. This project takes advantage of this fact and focuses on the soluble N-terminal ligand binding domains (LBD) of nAChRs. The overall aim is to generate functional soluble LBDs that can be used to screen against small molecule libraries as an initial step in the drug development process.

Funding: The Gerald Kerkut Charitable Trust & CfBS

Funding dates: 2015-2018

Related research groups

Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
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