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:3/23/2015)... --  HOYOS Labs , a leading global authentication infrastructure ... Company will demonstrate multiple biometrics-based technologies under its identity ... on March 23 through 25, 2015, in ... IEEE Biometric Open Protocol Standard; free biometrics-based consumer app, ... system. BOPS was invented by HOYOS Labs and contributed ...
(Date:3/20/2015)... , Mar. 19, 2015 Research and Markets ... "Hand Geometry - Global Strategic Business Report" report to ... for Hand Geometry in US$ Thousands. The report provides separate ... Japan , Europe , ... , and Rest of World. Annual estimates and ...
(Date:3/18/2015)... 2015 As mobile payments become more ... wallets and apps continue to be introduced into the market ... mobile payment industry in focus today are:  NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... BABA ), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL ), ... (NASDAQ: FB ) NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):HOYOS Labs to Showcase Host of Biometrics Technologies at Connect:ID in Washington, D.C. 2HOYOS Labs to Showcase Host of Biometrics Technologies at Connect:ID in Washington, D.C. 3Hand Geometry - Global Strategic Business Report 2015: An Essential Security Component for both Government & Enterprise Sector 2Hand Geometry - Global Strategic Business Report 2015: An Essential Security Component for both Government & Enterprise Sector 3Hand Geometry - Global Strategic Business Report 2015: An Essential Security Component for both Government & Enterprise Sector 4Revolutionary Smart Wallet & Mobile Payment Choices Change the Game for Consumers - Company Begins Shipping Newest Digital Wallet to Customers 2Revolutionary Smart Wallet & Mobile Payment Choices Change the Game for Consumers - Company Begins Shipping Newest Digital Wallet to Customers 3Revolutionary Smart Wallet & Mobile Payment Choices Change the Game for Consumers - Company Begins Shipping Newest Digital Wallet to Customers 4Revolutionary Smart Wallet & Mobile Payment Choices Change the Game for Consumers - Company Begins Shipping Newest Digital Wallet to Customers 5Revolutionary Smart Wallet & Mobile Payment Choices Change the Game for Consumers - Company Begins Shipping Newest Digital Wallet to Customers 6
(Date:3/30/2015)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 30, 2015 ... and tax incentives provided you the government, major companies ... state and local governments setting future mandates for renewable ... power as an option. , Solara Power is a ... to several incentive programs available that allow qualifying homeowners ...
(Date:3/30/2015)...  New Jersey Health Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that ... New Jersey , has committed $1 ... James M. Golubieski , president. Through ... an additional $500,000 will be available for awards of ... projects that demonstrate exciting potential and may lead to ...
(Date:3/30/2015)... 30, 2015  Spherix Incorporated (Nasdaq: SPEX ... fostering and monetization of intellectual property, today provided ... 3:13-cv-03494-M and  Spherix v. Uniden , Case No. ... for the Northern District of Texas ... v. Verizon, Case No. 1:14-cv-00721-GBL-TCB, in the ...
(Date:3/30/2015)... MADISON, Wis. , March 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... 4901) ("Fujifilm") and Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CEO: ... a leading developer and manufacturer of fully functioning human ... that the two companies have entered into a definitive ... tender offer to be followed by a second step ...
Breaking Biology Technology:Solara Power Announces Residential Solar Power with No Up-Front Fees 2New Jersey Health Foundation Announces An Additional $1 Million To Fund Innovation and Research Grants in New Jersey 2Spherix Provides Update on Litigation vs. VTech, Uniden and Verizon 2Spherix Provides Update on Litigation vs. VTech, Uniden and Verizon 3Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 2Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 3Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 4Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 5Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 6Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 7Fujifilm Holdings to Acquire Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. 8
Cached News: