Molecule of the Month: Glutamate-gated Chloride Receptors
The antibiotic ivermectin attacks glutamate-gated chloride channels, paralyzing parasitic worms.
Exploring the Structure
Glutamate-gated Chloride Channel (PDB entries 4tnv and 3rif)
Researchers have captured these channels in many states, revealing how they open and close in response to binding of their ligands. On the right is a closed channel (PDB entry 4tnv ). A leucine amino acid forms a tight ring at the center of the channel that blocks passage of ions. On the left is a channel with glutamate and ivermectin bound, which has opened the channel, allowing ions to pass (PDB entry 3rif ). To explore these structures in more detail, click on the image for an interactive JSmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- Structures for many similar channels are available in the PDB. Try searching for "Cys-loop receptor" to see a few examples.
- When you look at the PDB entries for glutamate-gated chloride channels, you'll find that they include five antibodies bound to the ligand-binding portion of the molecule. Why are these included in the structure?
November 2015, David Goodselldoi:10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2015_11