lecture_10_23

lecture_10_23 - IV.E.2 The voltage clamp technique applied...

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IV.E.2. The voltage clamp technique applied to a patch with neurotransmitter receptors. The patch clamp technique A thin glass pipette of the proper shape is tightly sealed against a cell membrane, thereby isolating a small patch of the membrane and the ion channels it contains. These channels can then be chemically or electrically manipulated and their properties deduced. A researcher can even remove a patch of membrane from a cell or carefully open a window into a living cell to alter its cytoplasmic constituents. Advantage 1: control cytoplasm All of us interested in membrane biophysics anticipated that if measurements at an appropriately fine resolution could be taken, a whole microcosm of signaling molecules would be found. Advantage 2: fine resolution No method was available for directly measuring the unit events constituting the synaptic signal. The background noise associated with the standard techniques for measuring electric current passing through the cell membrane was only one ten billionth of an ampere, but it was 100 times greater than the current of a unit event and drowned out its signal. A few years later, we discovered by chance that the application of a slight suction through the pipette, together with some other procedural changes, could raise the resistance of the seal to more
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lecture_10_23 - IV.E.2 The voltage clamp technique applied...

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