Regulation of Ion Channel Proteins
David L. Armstrong, Ph.D.
Tel (919) 541-0062
Fax (919) 541-4611
firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box 12233
Mail Drop F2-05
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
The Membrane Signaling Group (MSG) studies the regulation of ion channel proteins by hormonal signaling through G proteins, calcium and protein phosphorylation.
Many environmental toxicants impair human health by disrupting these signaling cascades. Mutations in the genes encoding ion channels also increase human susceptibility to many diseases. The MSG focuses on the voltage-activated channels that are selectively permeable to calcium or to potassium and uses the patch clamp technique to study channel protein function and regulation at the molecular level in live cells in real time. The work is being continued at three levels of biological organization. At the molecular level, the group studies the structural basis of channel regulation by protein phosphorylation. At the cellular level, the ion channels are being used as a quantitative assay system to investigate the mechanisms linking G proteins to the protein kinases and phosphatases which regulate channel activity. Finally, at the physiological level the group has begun to explore the significance of the signaling pathways for neuronal development, function, and survival. The goal of the Membrane Signaling Group is to determine how disruption of these signal transduction pathways by pathogens and environmental toxicants contributes to the degenerative diseases which increasingly debilitate our aging population.
Major areas of research:
David L. Armstrong, Ph.D., is Acting Chief of the Laboratory of Neurobiology and head of the Membrane Signaling Group. Armstrong was trained in neurophysiology at the California Institute of Technology and received his Ph.D. in 1978. Following postdoctoral research at University College London, the Salk Institute and the University of California in Los Angeles, Armstrong joined the intramural research program within NIEHS as Head of the Membrane Signaling Group in 1987. He became a tenured Research Physiologist in 1994.