Functional Specificity of Calcium-activated Potassium Channels Neurones

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Neuroscience Physiology and Pharmacology


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Stocker M (2004) Matching molecules to function: neuronal Ca2+-activated K+ channels and afterhyperpolarizations. in Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology

Description BBSRC Project Grant (Modulation of neuronal excitability by heterotrimeric G-proteins and Rho GTPases)
Amount £500,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/E020585/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 12/2007 
End 11/2010
Description Nuffield Foundation Undergraduate Research Bursary
Amount £1,000 (GBP)
Organisation Nuffield Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2006 
End 08/2006
Description Wellcome Trust Vacation Scholarship
Amount £960 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2006 
End 08/2006
Title 1-EBIO, NS309 and NS8593 
Description THese are enhancers (1-EBIO and NS309) and inhibitors (NS8593) of calcium-activated potassium channel activity. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact After our first characterisation on recombinant and neuronal channels, these compounds (in particular 1-EBIO and NS309) have been used by several other groups studying the function of calcium-activated potassium channels in vitro and in vivo, in the brain and other systems (i.e. vascular smooth muscle). They have been shown to have anti-epileptogenic effects, a remarkable impact on learning and memory and to be a potential new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of certain forms of cerebellar ataxia. 104 papers making use of 1-EBIO have been published after our JBC paper in 2001; 15 papers after our characterisation of NS309; and 4 after our characterisation of NS8593 in 2006. 
Description New pharmacological tools to elucidate potassium channel function 
Organisation Neurosearch AG, Copenhagen
Country Denmark 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have characterised the effects of the new enhancers and inhibitors developed by NeuroSearch on ion channels in expression systems and neurons. This has revealed novel functions of the ion channels of interest and has opened the way to their use as targets for the treatment of hyperexcitability disorders.
Collaborator Contribution They have provided innovative compounds acting as enhancers or inhibitors of the activity of specific ion channels.
Impact We have published two papers together (both in section 2) and have obtained an MRC Industrial Case PhD Studentship.
Description SK channels in drug addiction 
Organisation Italian Institute of Technology (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia IIT)
Department Neuroscience and Brain Technologies IIT
Country Italy 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution My lab contributes the expertise on ion channel function at the cellular/network level in brain regions/circuits involved in habit formation, drug dependence and compulsuve behaviours.
Collaborator Contribution This collaboration has opened the way to investigations in animal models of drug addiction and compulsive behaviour. My lab contributes the expertise on ion channel function at the cellular/network level, the IIT lab (Dr Tonini) contributes the expertise on drug addiction and tolerance mechanisms and related behaviours.
Impact The collaboration is multidisciplinary, involving in vivo and in vitro electrophysiology and pharmacology, cellular imaging and behavioural tests. Output: paper submitted.
Start Year 2008
Description Structure and function of ion channels in the brain 
Organisation University College London
Department Biosciences
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Electrophysiological characterization of calcium-activated potassium channels and currents in different brain areas and expression systems. Experimental design, data analysis, interpretation and discussion, writing of papers.
Collaborator Contribution Dr Martin Stocker: Contributed with the molecular studies on calcium-activated potassium channels requiring molecular biology, protein biochemistry and immunohistochemical techniques. Contributed to the design of the research projects, discussion of the data and writing of papers.
Impact This has been a very long-lasting and fruitful collaboration, given the complementarity of the methodological approaches. It has generated grant icome (latest a BBSRC grant awarded in 2006) and several papers, some of which are listed in section 2.
Description Public Lecture - Bondeno (Italy) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public lecture on "The mechanisms of memory", attended by more than 300 people.

I have received a very positive feedback from many people immediately after and months/years after the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
Description School visit - Bondeno (Italy) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I organised a lecture on "How the brain works" for fifth grade children and ran a workshop on the structure and function of neurons.

I received a very positive feedback directly by teachers, children and families. Several children have chosen science-oriented secondary schools as a result of this event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006