What do we do?
Neurons communicate with each other through chemical and electrical synapses. At chemical synapses, the presynaptic nerve terminal releases neurotransmitters, which bind to postsynaptic receptors to control the function of postsynaptic cells. At electrical synapses, neurons communicate through intercellular channels known as gap junctions. Precise controls of neurotransmitter release and of gap junction gating are crucial to the proper function of the nervous system.
The goals of this lab are:
1. to understand the functions of several presynaptic components, including the BK channel, ryanodine receptor, and calcium/calmodulin-dependent proteins kinase II (CaMKII), in controlling neurotransmitter release;
2. to identify novel proteins that modulate BK channel function; and
3. to analyze gap junction functions, compositions and regulations. We use a combination of electrophysiological, genetic, and cell biological approaches in our research.