The Grosman Laboratory is broadly interested in the relationship between structure and function in neurotransmitter-gated ion channels, with special emphasis on the superfamily of nicotinic receptors. We try to understand how the structure of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels gives rise to their function. To this end, we use electrophysiological, biochemical, and structural tools. Our main goals are to generate scientific knowledge that withstands the test of time and to train the next generation of quantitative molecular physiologists, while our main tools are single-channel and ensemble electrophysiology, and protein-engineering techniques. Some of the particular issues we have been working on lately are:
- Quantitative characterization of fundamental properties of neurotransmitter-gated ion channels such as rate and equilibrium constants of ligand binding in the closed and open states.
- Quantitative understanding of the different phenomena that contribute to the kinetics of the postsynaptic current decay under physiological and pathological conditions.
- Linear free-energy relationships and the chemical dynamics of the closed-to-open conformational change.
- Relationship between structure and electrostatics of the pore domain.
Our Principal Investigator is Claudio Grosman.