Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecule movements that make us think: Ion channel’s voltage sensor can change its form

Date:
April 24, 2012
Source:
Linköping Universitet
Summary:
Every thought, every movement, every heartbeat is controlled by lightning-quick electrical impulses in the brain, the muscles, and the heart. But too much electrical excitability in the membranes of the cells can cause things like epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmia. A research group has now published new discoveries that can lead to new medicines for these diseases.

Molecular model of ion channel's voltage sensor.
Credit: Image courtesy of Linköping Universitet

Every thought, every movement, every heartbeat is controlled by lightning-quick electrical impulses in the brain, the muscles, and the heart. But too much electrical excitability in the membranes of the cells can cause things like epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmia. A research group at Linköping University has now published new discoveries that can lead to new medicines for these diseases.

Related Articles


The key molecules behind the electrical impulses are voltage-activated ion channels – pores in cell membranes, the opening and closing of which are controlled by the electrical potential between the inside and outside of the cell.

Research over the past few years has revealed the ion channels’ molecular structure, and how the pores change form when they open and close. On the other hand, the mechanism explaining how the electric potential is detected on the molecular level remains unclear.

LiU researchers have now shown how an ion channel’s voltage sensor can change its form. This change of form leads to the pore in the channel opening up.

Ulrike Henrion, Jakob Renhorn, Sara Börjesson, and Erin Nelson, all in Professor Fredrik Elinder’s research group, have succeeded through comprehensive experimental work in identifying 20 different molecular interactions that occur in the voltage sensor’s different states.

In collaboration with Professor Erik Lindahl’s group at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and associate professor Björn Wallner at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at LiU, the group has built five different molecular models of the voltage sensor, which together can explain all the experimental data. The five models were then linked together to a film that shows how a central part of the voltage detector moves between the outer walls of the voltage sensor.

The published work is an important piece of the puzzle in the research group’s quest to develop substances with raised electrical excitability, which hopefully can lead to new medicines for epilepsy and cardiac arrhythmia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Linköping Universitet. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. U. Henrion, J. Renhorn, S. I. Börjesson, E. M. Nelson, C. S. Schwaiger, P. Bjelkmar, B. Wallner, E. Lindahl and F. Elinder. Tracking a complete voltage-sensor cycle with metal-ion bridges. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, April 2012 (in press)

Cite This Page:

Linköping Universitet. "Molecule movements that make us think: Ion channel’s voltage sensor can change its form." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424095706.htm>.
Linköping Universitet. (2012, April 24). Molecule movements that make us think: Ion channel’s voltage sensor can change its form. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424095706.htm
Linköping Universitet. "Molecule movements that make us think: Ion channel’s voltage sensor can change its form." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120424095706.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) — Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins