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We are part of the Department of Structural Biology and Chemistry in Institut Pasteur, Paris.
Our main field is Structural Molecular Biology and Biophysics, augmented by tools of Computational Biology.

We use experimental techniques such as crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy to visualize at the atomic level the structure of molecules essential to life and to understand their functional properties, especially for
- Ligand-gated ion channels involved in electric nerve signaling and cell-cell communications.

We complement them with computational approaches such as molecular dynamics (atomic models), normal modes dynamics (coarse-grained models) and statistical thermodynamics, in order to go beyond the essentially static pictures given by these methods.

Homology modelling and molecular phylogeny techniques are routinely used to extend the scope of our studies,

Here we give a selection of recent articles on ligand-gated ion channels structure and function.

Publications by year for ligand-gated ion channels (2009-2021)


Playing around with Alphafold (coming soon)

Transforming an allosteric site into an orthosteric site (or a modulator into an agonist): coming soon


Re-refinement of the closed form of GLIC up to 4.0 Angstrom, by Pierre Legrand.


A new kind of supra-molecular organisation
-Structures of both open and closed forms by Haidai Hu of a new bacterial pLGIC related to ELIC and sensitive to Ca++ depletion, with two additional N-terminal domains with a jelly-roll fold and an unusual allosteric regulation at the supramolecular level (Ref and PDF).

New allosteric sites
-New article in Acta Cryst D by Z. Fourati et al. on molecules (carboxylates and dicarboxylates) binding to the vestibular allosteric binding site in pLGICs (GLIC) Here.


-Dissection of the molecular mechanism of proton gating in GLIC with 10 more x-ray structures (resolution up to 2.2 Angstrom) in PNAS and PDF.

-Crystal structures of a new bacterial pentaLGIC (SteLIC) sensitive to pH and depletion of Ca++ in a widely open form at 2.3 Angstrom in PNAS and PDF.

-Positive and negative modulation of GLIC by several General Anesthetics with Reba Howard and Erik Lindahl in (Cell Rep. and Recomm by F1000)


-X-ray structures of GLIC bound to Barbiturates, with Pr. Trevor Smart (UCL, UK) (J. Biol. Chem.) Editor's pick, Feb 3, 2017. See also here.

-String method simulation of the transition pathway for GLIC, with Pr Toby W. Allen (Melbourne, Australia, corresp. author) in PNAS. See Recomm by F1000


Pentameric Ligand-gated ion channels (pentaLGICs): drug binding sites in different conformational states

-X-ray structures of GLIC bound to Xenon, in the open and locally-closed states, with N. Colloc'h (PLoS One).

-X-ray structures of GLIC bound to Bromoform, supplemented by Molecular Dynamics studies by M. Baaden and coll. (Structure).


-Structure of a functional GLIC-GlyR chimera with P.-J. Corringer (PNAS, Feb 2015)

-Structural characterization of allosteric binding sites in the extracellular domain of GLIC (Acta Cryst D, March 2015) see Recomm by F1000


-Structural basis for the gating mechanism in GLIC (PNAS, Jan 2014), see Recomm by F1000
This article provides the first pair of crystal structures of the same pLGIC in two different forms, open and closed, allowing for the first time to understand the gating mechanis at work in this family at the molecular level.

-A structural perspective in the pharmacology of pLGICs - a review (BBA, May 2014)


-Structural basis for ion permeation in GLIC (EMBO Journal, Jan 2013) at 2.4 Angstrom

-Structural basis for alcohol potentiation in mutant(s) of GLIC with R.J. Howard (Nature Comms, April 2013) see Recomm by F1000


-A review on cys-loop receptors with P.J. Corringer in Structure

-Structure of a locally-closed form for GLIC in Nature Structural Molecular Biology 2012, see Recomm by F1000


-Atomic structure of a complex between general anesthetics with GLIC is published in Nature in 2011, Recommended by F1000
This is the first atomic structure of a general anesthetics bound to an ion channel.


-1 micro-second long Molecular Dynamics simulation of GLIC shows a stable form, with Marc Baaden in 2010, see Recomm by F1000

-Atomic structure of the extra-cellular (water-soluble) domain of GLIC, a pentameric ligand-gated ion-channel at high resolution in J. Mol. Biol. JMB


- First Atomic structure of the open form of a (bacterial) pentameric ligand-gated ion channel (LGIC), GLIC, with P.J. Corringer in Nature 2009, see Recomm by F1000

  Marc Delarue http://lorentz.dynstr.pasteur.fr