Researchers reveal structure of itch receptors on cells

researchers reveal structure of itch receptors on cells

Sumary of Researchers reveal structure of itch receptors on cells:

  • And why do some strong anti-itching medications make us nauseous, dry-mouthed zombies?
  • Scientists at the UNC School of Medicine and the University of California at San Francisco conducted research showing in precise detail how chemicals bind to mast cells to cause itch, and the scientists figured out the detailed structure of receptor proteins on the surface of these cells when a compound is bound to those proteins.
  • Roth, MD, PhD and Jonathan Fay, PhD at UNC-Chapel Hill, and Brian Shoichet, PhD, at UC San Francisco, co-senior authors who have collaborated on previous studies of important cell receptors — protein complexes that chemicals (including drugs) bind to cause or stop a reaction inside cells.
  • “Also, our research team did a truly remarkable job showing precisely how chemically distinct compounds induce itching through one of two distinct receptors known to be involved in itching.
  • ” First author Can Cao, PhD, a postdoctoral research in the Roth lab, and co-senior author Jonathan Fry, PhD, now an assistant professor in the UNC Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, led the experiments during the COVID pandemic.
  • On the surface of cells sit receptor proteins you can think of as complex locks.
  • When it comes to itch, Roth’s lab identified two receptors called MRGPRX2 on the surface of mast cells and MRGPRX4 on itch-sensing neurons that live in connective tissue and play roles in allergies, immune tolerance, wound healing and other factors in health and disease.
  • Several drugs unintentionally flood these receptors to trigger the release of histamines, causing the side effect of itching.

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