Navigation Links
Biologists discover a key regulator in the pacemakers of our brain and heart
Date:4/25/2014

Biologists have discovered how an outer shield over T-type channels change the electrochemical signaling of heart and brain cells. Understanding how these shields work will help researchers eventually develop a new class of drugs for treating epilepsy, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The study from the University of Waterloo is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry today and is featured as the "Paper of the Week" for its significance.

The researchers discovered T-type channels in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, can shift from using calcium ions to using sodium ions to generate the electrical signal because of an outer shield of amino acids called a turret situated above the channel's entrance.

Low voltage T-type channels generate tiny pulses of current at regular intervals by selectively passing positively charged cations across the cell's membrane through a gate-like channel. The channels are normally extremely selective, allowing just one sodium ion to pass for every 10,000 calcium ions.

The resulting rhythmic signals produced by this transfer of cations are what support the synchronous contraction of our heart muscles and neuronal firing in parts of the brain, like the thalamus, which helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm.

In addition to their published findings, the researchers also found the shield-like turrets in pond snails restrict access of therapeutic drugs to the channel.

T-type channels in pond snails and other invertebrates are similar to those found in humans. Although pond snails reach only 7 cm in length, its simple neural network and physiology make it a popular model organism with neurobiologists.

Over-active T-type channels are linked to epilepsy, cardiac problems, neuropathic pain, as well as the spreading of several kinds of cancer. Drugs that could quench out-of-control T-type channel activity are unable to bind to the channels themselves.

"We wanted to understand the molecular structures of T-type channels," said Spafford. "How they pass ionic currents to generate electrical activity, and to identify drug binding sites, and the drugs which may block these channels to treat neurological disease or heart complications."

The group is currently investigating how dismantling this extracellular turret will improve drug access and binding in T-type channels.


'/>"/>
Contact: Nick Manning
nmanning@uwaterloo.ca
519-888-4451
University of Waterloo
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Stanford biologists help solve fungal mysteries
2. Biologists develop nanosensors to visualize movements and distribution of plant hormone
3. Climate change a likely culprit in coqui frogs altered calls, say UCLA biologists
4. Neurobiologists find chronic stress in early life causes anxiety, aggression in adulthood
5. SU biologists use sound to identify breeding grounds of endangered whales
6. Rice synthetic biologists shine light on genetic circuit analysis
7. Oddball science has proven worth, say UMass Amherst biologists
8. Are invasive plants a problem in Europe? Controversial views among invasion biologists
9. Penn biologists establish new method for studying RNAs regulatory footprint
10. Marine biologists unmask species diversity in coral reefs
11. New method of DNA editing allows synthetic biologists to unlock secrets of a bacterial genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biologists discover a key regulator in the pacemakers of our brain and heart
(Date:6/14/2017)... , June 15, 2017  IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is ... tech event dedicated to developing collaboration between startups and global ... June 15-17. During the event, nine startups will showcase the ... in various industries. France ... international market, with a 30 percent increase in the number ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... 2017 RAM Group , Singaporean ... breakthrough in biometric authentication based on a ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based ... by Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will ... chains and security. Ram Group is a next ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 17, 2017 ... security technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report ... Securities and Exchange Commission. ... Report on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section ... well as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/18/2017)... ... July 18, 2017 , ... Recently recognized by CIO Magazine ... the migration of its flagship cloud-based product Planet Life Cycle – a robust ... management system that merges strategic and financial planning with execution. The solution is ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 17, ... ... of technology-enabled clinical trial solutions, today announced safety software company AB Cube ... the eHealth Solutions business segment to advance technology innovation across life sciences ...
(Date:7/17/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel ... (Biomedical Innovation Group) annual meeting in China. , This year’s meeting, held June ... therapy, a rapidly developing highly personalized anti-cancer technology that involves removing some of ...
(Date:7/16/2017)... ... July 16, 2017 , ... OHAUS ... announced the launch of its new line of Rocking and Waving Shakers today. ... shaker models (both analog and digital) for laboratory applications in a variety of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: