Home Page for Francisco Bezanilla, Ph.D.
Eichelberger Cannon Professor
GCIS Building room W244
929 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physiology, UCLA
Member Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencias Univ. de Valparaiso,
- Biophysics of excitation: Structure-Function in Voltage Dependent
Ionic Channels and Transport proteins.
- In voltage dependent channels, the electrical expression of their function
is the ionic current which can be studied at the macroscopic level (the ionic
current) and at the microscopic level (the single channel recording).
But in addition to the ionic current, in these molecules the rearrangement
of internal dipoles and charged groups under the influence of the external
electric field produce gating currents. These currents are a direct
expression of molecular rearrangements relevant to the operation (or gating)
of the channel molecule.
- With the advent of molecular cloning techniques, we have been able to carry
out these studies with a detail not possible before by recording gating currents
of cloned Shaker K+ and Sodium channels and describing their electrical
properties with high resolution. Thus, we can modify the molecule to
probe the role of specific amino acids in the voltage dependence and charge
movement of the channel.
- The main interest in the lab is the search for the dynamics of the molecular
correlates of the function in membrane transport proteins. This is being
approached with physical techniques such as temperature effects and complex
capacitance measurements in the frequency domain combined with mutations of
the molecule and assessed by gating currents, macroscopic currents and single
molecule recordings. The correlation with structural changes are being
monitored with optical techniques using real time fluorescence spectroscopy
including lifetimes, changes in intensity and fluorescence resonance energy
transfer from probes attached to strategic sites in the molecule of interest
while being functional in the membrane.
Members in the Laboratory:
Last updated 2013
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