Ion channels: from molecules to therapy
Ion channels are protein complexes that confer the flux of ions through cellular membranes. Virtually every cell in the body needs ion channels for proper function. Impaired ion channel function has been implicated with numerous acquired and inherited diseases (“channelopathies”). Many therapeutically used drugs act via ion channels and ion channels are also important targets for future drug development and therapy. Our laboratory employs a broad spectrum of methods including molecular biology, electrophysiology, imaging and generation of genetic mouse models to achieve insights into the function and physiological regulation of ion channels. On the basis of these studies we are seeking to understand the role of ion channels in diseased states, to explore their druggability and to design next-generation gene therapy approaches to rescue their function in vivo. Our focus is on the following research topics:
- Cyclic nucleotide-regulated cation channels (HCN and CNG channels)
- Retinal ion channels and gene therapy approaches to restore vision
- Calcium channels (CaV, TPC, TRPML channels)
Our work has been funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation), the Bavarian Research Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, and by EU Framework programs.
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