This site is a one-stop shop for the work of the single ion channel group at UCL. The original pages were on the UCL server, but they have been moved to this site largely because corporatisation of the UCL server makes it hard to update the pages there.
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Single ion channels
Here’s a short bit of movie that shows one single molecule doing its thing. It is a video of an oscilloscope screen.
The movie shows channels opened by a low concentration of acetylcholine. Openings are the downward deflections. Each opening has much the same amplitude, about 6 pA, but the durations of open and shut times are very variable, as expected for a single molecule. Analysis of the open and shut times can tell us the rates of transition between different states of the channel, and hence the equilibrium constants. Analysis of records like this can separate the binding steps from the opening steps, and hence solve the binding-gating problem (the affinity-efficacy problem).
The details. Human recombinant muscle type nicotinic receptor, $\alpha_2 \beta \epsilon \delta$, expressed in HEK cell, –100 mV. 100 nM ACh.
Latest news: Summmer Workshop
The last summer workshop, Understanding Ion Channel currents in terms of mechanisms, was on 8 – 12 July 2013. Unfortunately we shall not be able to run the course in 2014: more details on the course page.