Mechanisms of ion channel and transporter function
The lipid bilayer is a perfect electrical insulator and provides the basis for molecular information processing at the cell membrane. Active transport proteins establish electrochemical potential gradients across the membrane, providing the energy for passive ion flux through channels. Electrical signaling in cells is mediated by the opening and closing of voltage-gated ion channels in response to electrical stimuli and the consequent transmembrane voltage changes.Patch-clamp electrophysiology enables direct recordings of electrogenic transport processes mediated by ion channels and transporters. State-of-the-art biomolecular dynamics simulations provide detailed in-sight into their transport mechanisms at atomic resolution-including accurate estimates of ion conductance, selectivity, and voltage dependence. Together, experiments and molecular simulations provide validated insights into transport mechanisms, thereby establishing a direct link between molecular structure and physiological function.