Biophysical studies of ion channels

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Science  21 Sep 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4668, pp. 1346-1350
DOI: 10.1126/science.6089347


Ionic channels, the integral membrane proteins responsible for the brain's electrical activity, have long been studied with standard electrophysiological and biochemical methods. Recently, however, newly developed electrical and molecular biological methods have been brought to bear on long-standing questions in neurobiology. Goals of current channel research include elucidating the primary amino acid sequence and three-dimensional structure of channel species; the mechanisms of synthesis, sorting, membrane insertion, and degradation; and aspects of function such as gating, ion permeation and selectivity, and regulation. The latest research combines the new biochemical and electrophysiological techniques to reveal relations between molecular structure and function.