Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization -- Department for Nonlinear Dynamics and Network Dynamics Group
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BCCN AG-Seminar

Thursday, 23.02.2006 14 c.t.

Functional role of ionic channels: a modern perspective

by Dr. Gytis Baranauskas
from Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Contact person: Fred Wolf


Seminarraum Haus 2, 4. Stock (Bunsenstr.)


The dominant view of ionic channel function is largely based on the experiments performed in the axons of squid and crayfish and the intracellular recordings in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. While the former provided the basis of description of current kinetics, the latter introduced a rich repertoire of ionic channels present in the central mammalian neurons. Channel classification (delayed rectifier, A-type, D-type potassium currents; calcium channel types etc) and their functional role that emerged from these experiments are still in use today. During this seminar I will demonstrate that many concepts of such a ?classical? view on the function of ionic channels can be misleading. On the basis of information about the genes encoding channels, the high quality voltage clamp recordings and correlation analysis of ionic currents in slice preparation, I will show that there is no clear separation between A and D-type currents, no classical delayed rectifier is present in central neurons and there is unexpected coordination of currents generated by ionic channels and the Na+-K+ pump. I believe that these results challenge our current understanding how ionic channels control behavior of neurons.

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