The superfamily of ion channel proteins comprise multisubunit transmembrane glycoproteins that are the fundamental electrical signaling molecules in the heart and other excitable tissues. The large size and hydrophobicity of these proteins present a formidable obstacle to the generation of a crystal structure. In lieu of a high-resolution structure, complementary methods have been used to study the structure function relationships of these essential excitability proteins. Molecular cloning and biophysical analysis of heterologously expressed wild-type and mutant channel proteins have provided insights into the structural basis of the essential channel functions of permeation and gating. This powerful combination of techniques also provides dynamic structural information regarding channel proteins not likely to be forthcoming from a crystal structure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine