Chinese and US scientists have determined the high-resolution atomic structure of a cell-surface receptor that plays a critical role in the formation of blood clots, a discovery that may eventually lead to new drug treatments.
The discovery, published in the latest version of Nature, provided a detailed molecular map of the human P2Y1 receptor (P2Y1), a GPCR.
Cell signaling, or communication between human cells, is the key to how the body functions. Signaling begins at the cell surface, where a family of protein receptors called G-protein coupled receptors, or GPCR, is involved in 80 percent of cell surface activities in the body. The receptors control functions such as growth, reproduction, the nervous system and behavior.
"The P2Y1 structures help us understand how this receptor and different types of experimental drugs interact at the molecular level, and could enable further exploration to design new and safer antithrombotic drugs with reduced adverse effects,” said Wu Beili, leader of the research project, from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Originally published in the "Shanghai daily" 2015-04-01