This full-page plate was created for Netter's Atlas of Neuroscience. It shows the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, an example of a ligand-gzated ion channel. When the neurotransmitter acetylcholine binds to the receptor, it forces a conformational change in the protein, allowing sodium ions to pass into the cell. This is a critical step in the initiation of an action potential (nerve impulse) at the nerve synapse.
The illustration was created using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and molecular modeling software.