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Issue No. 21

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Ion Channel Modulation by G-Protein Coupled Receptors

The G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most versatile protein family in the mammalian genome. They interact with G-proteins to activate many intracellular signaling pathways and modulate ion channel activity. GPCRs modulate ion channels by two distinct pathways. The main focus …


The Sexiest Channels Alive: The Role of Ion Channels in Penile Erection

Penile erection is a spinal reflex that involves integration of tactile, olfactory, visual and auditory inputs in the central nervous system (CNS). Despite the involvement of CNS higher functions, penile erection is, in the end, the result of the relaxation of the specialized smooth muscle cells of …


Ion Channels in Endocrine Pancreatic Cells and their Role in Diabetes

Maintaining glucose homeostasis is an important factor in mammalian physiology, and is controlled to a large extent by the pancreas. Specialized beta cells residing in the Islets of Langerhans sense the blood glucose levels and secrete insulin, which signals these levels to the rest of the body. …


Fluorescently-Labeled Toxins: Novel Tools for Working with Live Cells

Venom proteins and peptides have emerged as invaluable tools for research, drug discovery and drug development due to their small size, rigid structure, high potency and selectivity. The use of labeled toxins will open up new research avenues which will help to better understand ion channel …


Decoding the L-Type Ca2+ Signal: A Story of Transcription Regulation

L-type voltage-sensitive Ca2+ channels (CaV) on the plasma membrane of diverse cell types play a fundamental role in Ca2+ signaling and cellular function. In many cases, CaV channel signals are associated with gene transcription. This signal has distinguishing properties that include site of entry …


Venom Toxins as Ion Channel Research Tools

Venomous creatures deploy a wide array of proteins and peptides, active on a spectrum of targets, for prey immobilization. These toxins are small, rigid, highly potent and specific, and as such, serve as an important pharmacological tool for ion channel research. Some of these toxins are currently …