Eight-Armed Octopus-Like Pore Detects Taste; Possibly Has Other Roles; Mutant May Be Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s

The neurons in our bodies are dotted with tiny pores that let essential molecules pass in and out of our cells. Neurons need these channels to send the signals that allow us to move, think, and perceive the world around us. Now, structural biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have captured never-before-seen images of one of the largest pores in human neurons. It’s called calcium homeostasis modulator protein 1, or CALHM1 for short. Previous studies have shown that mutations in the Cahlm1 gene may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. CSHL’s new research reveals, for the first time, how the channel works in humans and how it can get jammed up.

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