HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Researchers discover structure of Nature's 'circuit breaker'

Researchers have answered an important question in biology by discovering the exquisite mechanism by which channels in the cell membrane sense voltage changes that trigger them to snap open or slam shut with extraordinary speed and precision.

Voltage-dependent ion channels are central to the function of nerves and muscles, and without them the brain would immediately suffer neural gridlock and the heart would seize up.

According to the researchers, which were led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Roderick MacKinnon, the discovery may lead to a new class of drugs for neurological, heart and muscle disorders that can exert more subtle influences on the activity of ion channels.

MacKinnon and his colleagues at The Rockefeller University published their findings in two papers in the May 1, 2003, issue of the journal Nature. Specifically, the researchers deduced the structure and function of the voltage-sensing mechanism in a potassium channel of an archaebacterium that thrives in the near-boiling temperatures of hot springs. However, they said, the mechanism undoubtedly applies to voltage-sensing calcium and sodium channels as well, and is present in organisms from the most ancient bacteria to humans.

Voltage-dependent potassium ion channels are precise molecular machines that are critical to propagating electrical impulses in the brain and heart. The channels are large proteins with a pore that pierces the cell membrane and is designed to allow only the passage of potassium ions. When an electrical impulse travels along a nerve, the charge on the cell membrane changes -- with the outside becoming more negative -- triggering these ion channels to open and allowing potassium to flow out of the cell. This outflow of potassium allows the membrane to return to its resting state and prepare for the next impulse.

According to MacKinnon -- whose pa
'"/>

Contact: Jim Keeley
keeleyj@hhmi.org
301-215-8858
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
30-Apr-2003


Page: 1 2 3 4

Related biology news :

1. Researchers determine genetic cause of Timothy syndrome
2. Researchers find color sensitive atomic switch in bacteria
3. Researchers identify protein promoting vascular tumor growth
4. Researchers devise potent new tools to curb ivory poaching
5. Researchers create nanotubes that change colors, form nanocarpet and kill bacteria
6. Researchers ID chlorophyll-regulating gene
7. Researchers develop fast track way to discover how cells are regulated
8. Researchers identify distinctive signature for metastatic prostate cancer
9. Researchers report new gene test for isolated cleft lip and palate
10. Researchers discover why mutant gene causes colon cancer
11. Researchers identify the genomes controlling elements

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
TAG: Researchers discover structure Nature circuit breaker

(Date:12/3/2014)... 2, 2014 As part of our commitment ... is pleased to announce the release of a new ... collect the workforce data that they need. ... left by existing readers. Many such devices have serious ... modern technology. Older models force users to navigate numerous ...
(Date:11/21/2014)... YORK , Nov. 19, 2014  Earlier this ... at New York College, and one of the most ... biosensor signals that are transmitted from Smartphones to third ... were Smartphones and has one of the earliest known ... discussing its usage in the military, child care, elder ...
(Date:11/21/2014)... 2014 C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of ... (IoT), today announced the appointment of John Traynor ... a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will ... is based out of the C-Labs office in ... Chris Muench , Chief Executive Officer. Photo ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):Inception Technologies to Release New Biometric Reader 2Patented Biosensor Wearable Technology Provides a More Civilized Method of Quarantine 2Patented Biosensor Wearable Technology Provides a More Civilized Method of Quarantine 3Patented Biosensor Wearable Technology Provides a More Civilized Method of Quarantine 4C-Labs Names Former Microsoft and Bsquare Executive as Chief Operating Officer 2
(Date:12/22/2014)... The American Journal of Hematology/Oncology, ... and editorials addressing developments and pathways related to ... provocative article exploring the role of follicle-stimulating hormone ... of prostate cancer. , The article references ... that there could be a connection to prostate ...
(Date:12/19/2014)... 2014 BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy ... the promotion of Nick Maroulis, Pharm.D. to the newly ... , In this position, Dr. Maroulis will continue ... the directors of our multi-site pharmacies as the company ... and during that time he has served in many ...
(Date:12/19/2014)... 2014 Research and Markets ( ... "Technology Innovations in Smart Fabrics (Technical Insights)" ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769 The Research ... a detailed assessment on technological advancements and market ... 1. The Smart Fabrics market is ...
(Date:12/19/2014)... Reports from CDC show approximately ... one or more chronic health conditions - including cardiovascular ... some of these diseases, but may not eliminate the ... While implanted nerve stimulation devices today offer relief, they ... can induce side effects. , To eliminate the ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Prostate Cancer Experts Dissect the Role of Follicle-stimulating Hormone in the Development, Progression and Potential Treatment of Prostate Cancer 2Prostate Cancer Experts Dissect the Role of Follicle-stimulating Hormone in the Development, Progression and Potential Treatment of Prostate Cancer 3Prostate Cancer Experts Dissect the Role of Follicle-stimulating Hormone in the Development, Progression and Potential Treatment of Prostate Cancer 4BioPlus Specialty Pharmacy Promotes Dr. Nick Maroulis to Vice President of Specialty Pharmacy Services 2Technology Innovations in Smart Fabrics (Technical Insights) 2Draper Wins GSK Funding for Smaller, Smarter Implantable Devices 2
Cached News: