TSPO Translocator
Valium produces its calming effects by binding a particular brain protein, but it binds almost as strongly to another protein called TSPO. Scientists from NYSBC, Columbia University, and Brookhaven National Laboratory have deciphered structural details of TSPO, which might offer clues about Valium’s side effects. Additionally, biochemical assays point to previously unknown roles for TSPO. Guo et al. Science 347(6221):551-5 (2015)

Bax Inhibitor-1 Calcium Channel
The intracellular levels of calcium must be tightly regulated to prevent cell death. The NYCOMPS team at NYSBC and outside collaborators solved the structure of the bacterial homolog of human Bax Inhibitor-1 Ca2+ channel (hBI-1), which acts as a safety valve to prevent Ca2+ overload, explaining how pH regulates the opening/closing of this channel. Chang et al. Science 344(6188):1131-5 (2014)

Bestrophin Chloride Channel
Human Bestrophin-1 is a chloride channel that can cause macular degeneration when mutated. Researchers at NYSBC, Columbia and Munich Technical Universities used structural biology and electrophysiology to understand the channel’s ion selectivity and how mutations lead to disease. Yang et al. Science 346(6207):355-9 (2014)

ASBT Bile Acid Transporter
ASBT is one of two transmembrane channels used to reabsorb bile acids from the digestive tract for recycling purposes. This protein is an attractive drug target for hypercholesterolemia (bile acid synthesis requires cholesterol) and to improve absorption of medication taken orally. The crystal structure of this transporter was obtained by NYSBC’s NYCOMPS group and collaborators. Zhou et al. Nature 505(7484):569-73 (2014)

Sodium Dependent Citrate Transporter
Citrate transport is critical to understanding diabetes and obesity. Scientists at NYSBC and NYU School of Medicine collaborated to produce, crystallize and solve the structure of the sodium-dependent citrate transporter NaCT, revealing how the protein binds its substrates and shuttles them into cells. Mancusso et al. Nature 491:622 (2012)