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The subunit stoichiometry of several ligand-gated ion channel receptors is still unknown. A counting method was developed to determine the number of subunits in one family of brain glutamate receptors. Successful application of this method in an HEK cell line provides evidence that ionotropic glutamate receptors share a tetrameric structure with the voltage-gated potassium channels. The average conductance of these channels depends on how many subunits are occupied by an agonist.
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