Skip to main content
Science & Technology

Activation and desensitization mechanisms of glycine receptor in lipid nanodiscs

By 9th November 2020No Comments

The following study was conducted by Scientists from Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA; Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; Division of CryoEM and Bioimaging, SSRL, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford University, Menlo Park, CA, USA; Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA. Study is published in Nature Communications Journal as detailed below.

Nature Communications; Volume 11, Article Number: 3752; (2020)

Mechanisms of Activation and Desensitization of Full-Length Glycine Receptor in Lipid Nanodiscs


Glycinergic synapses play a central role in motor control and pain processing in the central nervous system. Glycine receptors (GlyRs) are key players in mediating fast inhibitory neurotransmission at these synapses. While previous high-resolution structures have provided insights into the molecular architecture of GlyR, several mechanistic questions pertaining to channel function are still unanswered. Here, we present Cryo-EM structures of the full-length GlyR protein complex reconstituted into lipid nanodiscs that are captured in the unliganded (closed), glycine-bound (open and desensitized), and allosteric modulator-bound conformations. A comparison of these states reveals global conformational changes underlying GlyR channel gating and modulation. The functional state assignments were validated by molecular dynamics simulations, and the observed permeation events are in agreement with the anion selectivity and conductance of GlyR. These studies provide the structural basis for gating, ion selectivity, and single-channel conductance properties of GlyR in a lipid environment.


Nature Communications



Kumar, A., S. Basak, et al. (2020). “Mechanisms of activation and desensitization of full-length glycine receptor in lipid nanodiscs.” Nature Communications 11(1): 3752.