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Paola Pedarzani

Department of Neuroscience, Physiology & Pharmacology

Ion channels regulating neuronal excitability and firing properties

We are interested in the molecular and cellular basis of ion channel function in CNS neurones. In particular, we concentrate on calcium-activated potassium channels, which are involved in the regulation of many physiological processes, such as neurosecretion, action potential shape and spike frequency. We use different methods, including patch clamp in brain slices, imaging, and histochemistry, to elucidate the molecular determinants of calcium-activated potassium channels in various neuronal types, their function and their regulation during development. Additionally, we investigate the mechanisms of modulation of these channels by neurotransmitters and second messenger systems, resulting in specific neuronal responses, such as changes in the firing patterns or oscillatory behaviours of the neurones.


There are several projects available depending on the student's interests.

- Activation and function of molecularly identified calcium-activated potassium channels in cortical and brainstem neurones;

- Functional coupling of calcium-activated potassium channels to calcium sources in central neurones;

- Role of calcium-activated potassium channels in synaptic plasticity. 


M. Krause, S. Offermanns, M. Stocker & P. Pedarzani (2002)
Functional specificity of G-alpha-q and G-alpha-11 in the cholinergic and glutamatergic modulation of potassium currents and excitability in hippocampal neurons.
Journal of Neuroscience 22: 666-673.

L.A. Cingolani, M. Gymnopoulos, A. Boccaccio, M. Stocker & P. Pedarzani (2002)
Developmental regulation of small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel expression and function in rat Purkinje neurons.
Journal of Neuroscience 22: 4456-4467.

P. Pedarzani, J. Mosbacher, A. Rivard, L. A. Cingolani, D. Oliver, M. Stocker, J. P. Adelman & B. Fakler (2001)
Control of electrical activity in central neurons by modulating the gating of small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels.
J. Biol. Chem. 276: 9762-9769.

M. Stocker, M. Krause & P. Pedarzani (1999)
An apamin-sensitive Ca2+-activated K+ current in hippocampal pyramidal neurons.
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96: 4662-4667.


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