A team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Molecular Modeling is changing the way scientists view cholesterol in the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). For years, cholesterol was thought only to be in the outer membrane. Simulations conducted on the National Center for Supercomputing Application's (NCSA) Abe demonstrated the possibility that the cholesterol--colored yellow, orange and red--may actually bind to sites within the protein's transmembrane domain. The researchers were studying nAChR to gain insight into how anesthesia works.
This project was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation (NSF). NCSA is supported in part by NSF. To learn more, see the NCSA story Closing the gaps.
(Date of Image: 2008)
Credit: Grace Brannigan, Temple University, and Jerome Henin