Albert Einstein: D. Spray, E. Scemes, R. Rozental
City College Collaborators: S. Weinbaum, S. Fritton, S. Cowin
Our group has played a major role in understanding the physiological and biophysical properties of gap junction channels. Primary interests are in the roles played by these channels in normal and diseased tissues, the interaction of gap junction proteins with other cytoplasmic and membrane proteins, the biophysical properties of protein domains involved in channel opening and closing, and how expression of the gap junction genes is regulated. Studies use a wide range of cell and molecular biological techniques, including patch clamp, confocal microscopy, optical imaging of intracellular Ca2+ and pH, transfection and site-directed mutagenesis and RT-PCR, Northern and Western blot analyses.
Current research is determining the effects of shear stress on gap junction expression and function in bone cells, examining the interactions between gap junctions and other proteins in brain and spinal cord, and examining interactions between gap junction proteins expressed in the lens and liver. These studies have received continuous NIH support since 1975, including both individual research grants and program project components.