Kainate receptor structure and function
We are interested in understanding how kainate receptors, a family of ionotropic glutamate receptors in the mammalian CNS, operate at a molecular and biophysical level. Kainate receptors are modulatory proteins that help to balance excitatory and inhibitory tone through diverse actions at pre- and postsynaptic sites. They also have been shown to be promising drug targets in several pathologies (particularly epilepsy and chronic pain). A current project focuses on how an associated family of auxiliary proteins, known as Neto-1 and Neto-2, shape kainate receptor function. We would like to identify which domains in both the receptor subunits and auxiliary proteins are key for allosteric modulation by Neto proteins.