Near-atomic ‘maps’ reveal structure for maintaining pH balance in cells

For the first time, scientists have visualized a new class of molecular gates that maintain pH balance within brain cells, a critical function that keeps cells alive and helps prevent stroke and other brain injuries. These gates, called proton-activated chloride channels (PAC), nest within cell membranes and regulate the passage of small molecules called chloride ions into and out of cells. This allows cells to sense and respond to their environment.