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Structural examination of voltage gated potassium channels by voltage clamp fluorometry Vaid, Moninder

Abstract

Voltage clamp fluorometry (VCF) was first developed in the mid 1990s by Isacoff and his colleagues. In this approach fluorophores are attached to substituted cysteine residues that are engineered by site-directed mutagenesis. Changes in the dielectric environment of the fluorophore report local transitions that are associated with electrically-related and electrically-silent transitions. VCF provides a powerful technique to observe real time reports of ion channel gating conformations. It has proven to be a useful technique because it adds insight that is not available using other techniques. X-ray crystallography studies give a predominantly static picture of the channel, while patch clamping of channels gives information only about residues that effect ionic current flow. Similarly, gating current provides insight only about residues that are charged and move across the membrane electric field. In this thesis we examined the structural rearrangements of the Shaker channel and the effect of 4-AP on channel gating. We also examined for the first time the structural rearrangements of the Kv1.5 gating and the how the channel responds to depolarization pulses. This work is instrumental in the examination of the potassium channel gating.

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