Ethylene Glycol is a Potential Positive Allosteric Modulator of GlyRα1 in Xenopus laevis Oocytes
In recent years, groundwater contamination by fracking fluid has become a prevalent issue in rural communities. Ethylene glycol (EG) is one of the many hazardous chemicals that make up fracking fluid and with its neurotoxic properties, fracking is not only an environmental risk but also a public health concern. EG is a known central nervous system depressant like ethanol, but its exact mechanism in impairing neurological function in EG poisoning is unknown. Ethanol has been shown to positively modulate inhibitory glycine receptors, therefore EG toxicity is suspected to have a similar mechanism. To test this, glycine receptor alpha 1 (GlyRα1) will be expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes and a two-electrode voltage clamp will be used to record the induced currents by clamping the voltage at -60 mV. Currents at varying glycine concentrations will be measured without and with EG as the control and experimental treatment, respectively. When the EG concentration is held constant, increasing the glycine concentration is theorized to increase GlyRα1 efficacy and result in a higher maximal current compared to the control. These findings would suggest that EG is a positive allosteric modulator of GlyRα1. In the future, treatments for EG poisoning could focus on glycine receptor function.
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