Department of Cell Physiology and Genetics investigates calcium transporting ion channels in neurons and in heart. In neurons we investigate pharmacological and non-pharmacological regulation of their excitability. We analyze mechanisms of action of drugs like antidepressants and mood regulators. Also, we investigate excitability alterations caused by external influences, either positive, e.g., a physical exercise, or negative, e.g., an inflammation. The aim is to address possible replacement of drug therapy by a positive external intervention (exercise) and/or possible alleviation of negative influences (inflammation) by a drug treatment. Further, we use site-specific mutagenesis of voltage-dependent calcium channels to investigate structural determinants of channel gating and permeation, and their modulation by pharmacological substances. In addition, we focus on the implementation of the current knowledge on the protein function-structure relationships in combination with bioinformatics methods to identify regulatory domains of cardiac calcium channels, even in the absence of their atomic 3D-structure.
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