The berth of cool


The shape of the protein that lets us sense cold is revealed.


The human cold-sensing protein.

The human cold-sensing protein.

Ying Yin, Duke University

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.

  1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aav9334
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