The main technique used for study of ion channels is the patch clamp technique. This Nobel Prize awarded technique, first invented in the late 1970’s, relies on the formation of at strong seal between a recording pipette and the cellular membrane. The high resistance of this seal (GO range, hence the term “giga-seal”) allows the recording of very small currents (pA range), offering enough resolution to detect and modulate current running through individual ion channels. Moreover, the high time resolution of the technique makes it possible to follow the rapid changes that occur during ion channel activation.
When studying ligand-gated ion channels, the perfusion system, i.e. the system used to expose the patch-clamped cell to different solution, is crucial for the quality of the time resolution as well as the number of data points per time unit. So far, patch-clamp studies have been time consuming and has exhibited a low data-yield. However, by creating new perfusion systems that give better time resolutions by offering faster switching between solutions, as well as the possibility to switch between a large number of solutions, this will be changed.
|Functional and Structural Information of TRPV1
|Titration of Intracellular Enzymes within Single Cells