Introduction to Neurobiology - Lecture Notes 06 - Ion Channel Structure, Function, Diversity

Introduction to Neurobiology - Lecture Notes 06 - Ion Channel Structure, Function, Diversity

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BioNB222 Spring 2008 Cornell University Joseph Fetcho 1 Lecture 6. Ion Channel Structure and Function Lecture Outline We now know much about the physiology and molecular structure of single ion channels. In fact, two relatively recent Nobel prizes have been awarded for studies examining the structure and function of ion channels at the level of individual channels. In this lecture, we will look more closely at the channels and how their properties give rise to the electrical properties of the neuron as a whole. 1. Some expected properties of channels were predicted even before the channels could be studied at the single channel level: A. Ions must be able to flow through the channels fast to account for the very rapid potential changes during an action potential (which last about 1millisecond). B. There must be some differences in which ions can pass through particular channels. For example, there seem to be currents that are carried by potassium and others by sodium, suggesting that somehow the channels “select” which ions pass through them.
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