Physiology and Biophysics

Faculty

Bertil Hille Ph.D.

Professor

Ph.D. Life Sciences
The Rockefeller University, 1967

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Properties of Ionic Channels and Receptors in Excitable Membranes

We are interested in cell signaling by ion channels, neurotransmitters and hormones acting through G-protein coupled receptors and intracellular calcium. Our overall goal is to define every step and the molecular mechanisms underlying physiologically interesting activation and inhibition in single cells, with emphasis on events that occur in time scales of microseconds to seconds.

The cell membrane, cytoplasm and intracellular organelles form a rapidly interacting signaling network. We study single neurons, endocrine cells, cell lines, and synapses using techniques associated with the patch clamp: voltage clamp, membrane capacitance, optical imaging, and photometry of fluorescent dyes. We have analysed G-protein coupled modulation of neuronal Ca channels, responses of gonadotropes and somatotropes to their releasing hormones, exocytosis and secretion from vesicles, dynamics of intraorganellar calcium in chromaffin cells, and the acrosomal reaction of sperm. Another part of our work is biophysical, probing the ionic permeability and gating properties of individual ion channels.