Research Projects Abstracts

Dr. Richard M. Hann
Identification of Factors that Regulate the Surface Expression of Ligand-Gated Ion Channels

Ligand-gated ion channels play critical roles in many cell processes and are the targets of a large number of medicines and toxins. Although much has been accomplished in understanding the structure and function of ligand-gated ion channels, much less is known about what regulates their expression on the cell surface. Current studies in this lab center on the ionotropic or type 3 serotonin receptor, which is the only serotonin-activated ion channel that is known. This important receptor functions at many places in the central & peripheral nervous systems. Using transient cell transfection and site-directed mutagenesis, we have identified amino acids on the large cytoplasmic segment of the ionotropic serotonin receptor that influence receptor assembly in the endoplasmic reticulum and receptor export from the ER to the cell surface. We are currently investigating the cell mechanisms through which these residues exert their influence on surface expression of the ionotropic serotonin receptor