To have an effect, a molecule must bind to a receptor and trigger a signal. Studying a receptor's structure can give us insights about the way this triggering process works.
Capsaicin is a fascinating molecule that puts the "pep" into peppers. Curiously, the amount of capsaicin in a pepper is measured with a test devised in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville. Dried peppers are dissolved in alcohol, this liquid extract is diluted in water, and trained people determine the pepper's Scoville value by "tasting" the heat.
I really wonder how these people are recruited. I like hot ... Read more