TCBG Seminar

Self-organized selectivity in Calcium and Sodium Channels

Professor Bob Eisenberg
Department of Molecular Biophysics
Rush University
Chicago, IL

Monday, August 23, 2010
3:00 pm (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


Ion channels are irresistible objects for biological study because they are the ‘nanovalves of life’ that control an enormous range of biological function, much as transistors control computers. Ion channels are appealing objects for physical investigation because conformation changes are not involved in selectivity. Amazingly, a simple model with the same two parameters accounts for the different selectivity of both calcium and sodium channels in a wide range conditions. How is this possible when crystallographic wisdom and chemical intuition says that selectivity depends on the precise structural relation of ions and side chains? The answer is that structure is the computed consequence of the forces in this model. Locations of ions and side chains vary with ionic solution and are very different in different solutions. Selectivity is a consequence of the ‘induced fit’ of side chains to ions and ions to side chains.

2:30 pm: Coffee Hour Theoretical and Computational Biophysics Group area, 3rd Floor Beckman

Main TCBG Seminars page