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Master in Life Sciences, ENS
BIO_M2_E25 | Neuropharmacology
Year and Semester : M2 | S1
Duration : 1 week
Dates : December 16-20, 2024
Maximum class size : 10-12 students

—2024-2025 programme to come—


Lætitia Mony, Biology Department, ENS




Pharmacology | Neuronal Receptors and Transporters | Structure-function relationship | Allosteric regulation | Molecular mechanisms

Course prerequisites

• Basic knowledge in chemistry and protein biochemistry : pH and pKa, amino acid properties, protein structure, protein/ligand interactions (H-bonds, hydrophobic interactions…)
• Basic knowledge in pharmacology : what is an agonist/antagonist, notions of competitive and non-competitive inhibition

Course objectives and description

This module is about neurotransmitter receptors and transporters, which are key actors of neuronal communication. The recent boom in membrane protein structures sheds a new light on our understanding of the function and the regulation mechanisms of these proteins. It also provides an unprecedented structural and conceptual framework to discover and develop new molecules of pharmacological interest. This module will tackle the molecular and structural organization, as well as the operating mechanisms of the main classes of neurotransmitter receptors and transporters. We will present their activation principles, as well as their interactions with ligands. Emphasis will be put on the allosteric mechanisms and subsequent conformational dynamics. We will also show how malfunction of these proteins can be at the origin of pathologies, making them targets of therapeutic interest. Finally, using concrete cases, this module will introduce students to the development process of new molecules of neurological and psychiatric interest.


• - Paper analysis and oral presentation at the end of the module. Paper analysis will be done by groups of 3 students. Groups will be formed by the module coordinator and the assigned paper will be given to the students early December. Paper presentation will take place on Friday afternoon at the end of the module week.
• - Written exam (2 hours) the week after the module. The exact date is set based on student availability.

Course material

Previous ppt presentations and video recordings of the speakers already available on the cloud. Current ppt presentations uploaded on the cloud after the speaker’s course.

Suggested readings in relation with the module content


Protein structure and non-covalent interactions
• Proteins : Structures and molecular properties, Thomas E. Creighton Second edition (1992) W.H.Freeman & Co Ltd
Ion channels
• Ion Channels of Excitable Membranes, Bertil Hille 3rd edition (2001) Sinauer Associates Inc.
• Ion channels and Disease, Frances Ashcroft (2000), Academic Press

Protein visualization softwares
Biovia Discovery Studio Visualiser, free but you need to register. Very easy to use. This is the software is prefer. Tutorial
Pymol The most used software in the research community. Can be a bit difficult to handle at the beginning. Tutorial