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Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2002 Jun;1(6):427-36.

Novel animal-health drug targets from ligand-gated chloride channels.

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  • 1MRC Functional Genetics Unit, Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QX, UK.


The world's three best-selling veterinary antiparasitic drugs ('parasiticides') act on ligand-gated ion channels. The sequencing of the complete genomes of the invertebrate genetic model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster has led to the recent cloning of new subunits of 5-hydroxytryptamine-gated and histamine-gated chloride channels. Together with L-glutamate-gated chloride channels, which are important targets of known parasiticides, and acetylcholine-gated chloride channels, these new classes of ligand-gated chloride channels, which are known only from invertebrates, add to our understanding of inhibitory neural signalling. They could offer the prospect of being targets for a new generation of selective drugs to control nematode and insect parasites.

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