Voltage-and Ligand-Gated Channels in Neural-Glia Interactions
Office Phone: (608) 262-6994, (608) 262-6996
Research Strength: Molecular Neuroscience
Potassium channels are crucial modulators of excitability in normal and pathological nerves. In the mammals, multiple K channel gene families encode different geneproducts exhibiting diversity in kinetics, cellular localizations, and responsiveness to second messengers. The goal of this laboratory in collaboration with the lab of A. Messing is to elucidate the in vivo functions of K channels using a combination of electrophysiology and transgenics/gene knockout techniques. Our current focus is on Shaker Channels (Kv1.1, Kv1.2, Kv1.5) and auxiliary K channel subunits (Kvbeta1/Kvbeta2). Viable global knockout mice of these channel genes have been produced and are now under physiological and molecular analysis. Currently, two broad questions are being addressed. First, what is the functional impact of deleting these K channels in normal and demyelinated nerves, particularly at axonal branch points? Second, what are the roles of Kvbeta2 subunits in oxidative stress and neurodegeneration in mice? Physiological techniques including patch-clamping and calcium imaging. Molecular techniques include transgenics, global and conditional gene knockouts.
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