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Revolution in understanding of ion channel regulation
Date:1/30/2008

bubble breaks, the channel is in the on position. Its a rather effective, efficient and elegant design.

The understanding of the link between ion channels and disease is a relatively recent development. Researchers have found that many diseases for example, cystic fibrosis, or even such complex and systemic diseases as type 2 diabetes involve malfunctions of ion channels. When the valves in a car or in plumbing get stuck, the car can stop or the sink can overflow. In the same way, when gates in the ion channels of your cells get stuck, there can be serious health consequences.

An amazing number of diseases have been found to be related to ion channels, says Eisenberg. Heart disease is an excellent example. Channels control the flow of electricity in the heart. If we could simply fix whats happening electrically in the heart, we could change the course of the disease and its impact on our society.

The proposal that bubbles are indeed the gates of ion channels needs further study. The Rush group and its collaborators are proposing a sophisticated and plausible guess. Testing that guess will be most informative.

This type of paradigm shift is fantastically important, because we can save researchers from wasting valuable time and energy heading in the wrong direction, says Eisenberg. This new insight will really change the way people are doing their work and could bring us amazing new leaps in our understanding of certain disease processes and how to manage and ultimately cure them.


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Contact: Kim Waterman
Kimberly_Waterman@rush.edu
312-942-7820
Rush University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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