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Study Demonstrates Unprecedented 3-D View Of An Important Brain Receptor

Update Date: Jun 28, 2014 09:26 PM EDT
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For the very first time, a new research has shown 3-D view of one of the most important receptors in brain. The 3-D viewed receptor, called NMDA, allows us to learn and remember and its dysfunction is involved in a wide range of neurological diseases and conditions such as  Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, schizophrenia and depression.

Researchers believe the discovery could aid development of drugs for neurological disorders including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and depression.

The study provides detailed view of the NMDA receptor while providing vital clues to developing drugs to combat the neurological diseases and conditions. 

"This is the most exciting moment of my career," said Eric Gouaux, a senior scientist at the Vollum Institute and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, in the press release. "The NMDA receptor is one of the most essential, and still sometimes mysterious, receptors in our brain. Now, with this work, we can see it in fascinating detail."

The NMDA receptor is one of the most important brain receptors. It is also responsible for neuron communication that is the foundation of memory, learning and thought. 

"This new detailed view will be invaluable as we try to develop drugs that might work on specific subunits and therefore help fight or cure some of these neurological diseases and conditions," Gouaux added. "Seeing the structure in more detail can unlock some of its secrets - and may help a lot of people."

Findings of the study is published in the journal Nature

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