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New insight into translation of touch into nerve signals

Whether stubbing a toe or stroking a cat, the sensation of touch starts out as a mechanical force that is then transformed into an conveying pain or other sensations. Tiny channels in neurons act as translators by helping to formulate that signal to the brain. However, scientists know little about the fine details of how these channels work.

[Closed TRAAK Channel]
The TRAAK channel (purple and orange) dampens sensations by letting potassium ions escape from a . Researchers found the channel uses a never-before-seen system for closing: A lipid (yellow) from the surrounding membrane (gray) protrudes into the channel, blocking the flow of ions and shutting off the dampening signal.
Credit: Laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology and Biophysics at The Rockefeller University


Source

Rockefeller University