[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are members of an extensive super-family of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels. In humans, nAChRs are expressed within the nervous system and at the neuromuscular junction and are important targets for pharmaceutical drug discovery. They are also the site of action for neuroactive pesticides in insects and other invertebrates. Nicotinic receptors are complex pentameric transmembrane proteins which are assembled from a large family of subunits; seventeen nAChR subunits (alpha1-alpha10, beta1-beta4, gamma, delta and epsilon) have been identified in vertebrate species. This review will discuss nAChR subunit diversity and factors influencing receptor assembly and trafficking.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The soft matter of biological systems consists of mesoscopic length scale building blocks, composed of a variety of different types of biological molecules. Most single biological molecules are so small that 1 billion would fit on the full-stop at the end of this sentence, but collectively they carry out the vital activities in living cells whose length scale is at least three orders of magnitude greater. Typically, the number of molecules involved in any given cellular process at any one time is relatively small, and so real physiological events may often be dominated by stochastics and fluctuation behaviour at levels comparable to thermal noise, and are generally heterogeneous in nature. This challenging combination of heterogeneity and stochasticity is best investigated experimentally at the level of single molecules, as opposed to more conventional bulk ensemble-average techniques. In recent years, the use of such molecular experimental approaches has become significantly more widespread in research laboratories around the world. In this review we discuss recent experimental approaches in biological physics which can be applied to investigate the living component of soft condensed matter to a precision of a single molecule.
Data provided are for informational purposes only. Although carefully collected, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The impact factor represents a rough estimation of the journal's impact factor and does not reflect the actual current impact factor. Publisher conditions are provided by RoMEO. Differing provisions from the publisher's actual policy or licence agreement may be applicable.