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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Complexities in Understanding Our Receptors and How We View the Universe...

Previously I mentioned that there exists a devilish complexity in the vast array of chemical and biological modifications that can alter the free thiol or sulfhydryl group, which is the reactive group of the essential amino acid, cysteine, in many important biological proteins ( Thiol groups are vitally important for their ability to form disulfide bonds with other thiol groups and to form either reduced or oxidized (redox) forms as well as oscillating between acid and base states ( Any one of these forms may further interact reversibly or irreversibly with a panoply of other chemical and biological molecules. Since most all of the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that have been studied have thiol ( or disulfide (two thiols linked together) groups, this creates a very complicated picture to understand these receptors’ active and inactive states ( This is important in order not only to understand how these receptors work, but to understand how we sense reality ( since our sensory receptors are GPCRs. These are also the receptors that are targets of over fifty percent of our pharmaceutical drugs. Understanding how our receptors work at the molecular level is an awe inspiring undertaking, because these are the molecules that link our thoughts and senses to the universe. Understanding how they function may open new frontiers for us to truly understand our place in the cosmos.