Nicotine high hinges on sugar molecule

Nicotine structureWhen nicotine binds to a neuron, how does the cell know to send the signal that announces a smoker’s high? A recently determined crystal structure of a key player in the process suggests that a sugar molecule has a simple mechanical role acting as a hinge to open a gate in the cell membrane. The research might one day lead to new treatments for drug addiction, depression, epilepsy, schizophrenia, and other disorders.

I discussed the issue with Lin Chen of the University of Southern California and you can read the full story in the X-ray crystallography channel on

Author: spinneret

This post originally appeared in full in David Bradley's hosted Spinneret blog (geddit?). Hopefully, any molecular structures and links are hooking up to the Chemspider database correctly, please let us know if you have problems with mol files, InChI code etc