Open Channels

The key thing that ion channels do is open and close. Structural studies are beginning to reveal the general rearrangements that occur when channels are prompted to move between closed and open states. Electron microscopy studies of the nAChR show that ligand binding to the extracellular domain causes a twisting of the subunits that is

Figure 5 Examples of how pore helices stabilize permeant ions for cation channels (left) and anion channels (right). (Adapted from Dutzler, R. et al., Nature, 415, 287-294, 2002.)

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