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.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.