The berth of cool
The shape of the protein that lets us sense cold is revealed.
This image is derived from a technique called cryo-electron microscopy, and shows for the first time the intricate structure of the primary cold-sensing protein found in humans and other animals: an ion channel called TRPM8, located in nerve cells.
In this instance, the channel is interacting with menthol – a compound that induces a cooling feeling when applied to aching muscles.
The details of the architecture of TRPM8 are revealed, courtesy of a research team led by Seok-Yong Lee of the Duke University School of Medicine in the US, in the journal Science.