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Molecular genetic studies on voltage-gated ion channels


Ramaswami, Mani (1990) Molecular genetic studies on voltage-gated ion channels. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/ycfq-1k97.


Several different methods have been employed in the study of voltage-gated ion channels. Electrophysiological studies on excitable cells in vertebrates and molluscs have shown that many different voltage-gated potassium (K+) channels and sodium channels may coexist in the same organism. Parallel genetic studies in Drosophila have identified mutations in several genes that alter the properties of specific subsets of physiologically identified ion channels. Chapter 2 describes molecular studies that identify two Drosophila homologs of vertebrate sodium-channel genes. Mutations in one of these Drosophila sodium-channel genes are shown to be responsible for the temperature-dependent paralysis of a behavioural mutant parats. Evolutionary arguments, based on the partial sequences of the two Drosophila genes, suggest that subfamilies of voltage-gated sodium channels in vertebrates remain to be identified.

In Drosophila, diverse voltage-gated K+ channels arise from alternatively spliced mRNAs generated at the Shaker locus. Chapter 3 and the Appendices describe the isolation and characterization of several human K+-channel genes, similar in sequence to Shaker. Each of these human genes has a highly conserved homolog in rodents; thus, this K+-channel gene family probably diversified prior to the mammalian radiation. Functional K+ channels encoded by these genes have been expressed in Xenopus oocytes and their properties have been analyzed by electrophysiological methods. These studies demonstrate that both transient and noninactivating voltage-gated K+ channels may be encoded by mammalian genes closely related to Shaker. In addition, results presented in Appendix 3 clearly demonstrate that independent gene products from two K+-channel genes may efficiently co-assemble into heterooligomeric K+ channels with properties distinct from either homomultimeric channel. This finding suggests yet another molecular mechanism for the generation of K+-channel diversity.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Tanouye, Mark
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:19 April 1990
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07282014-102712405
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8614
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:28 Jul 2014 19:50
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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