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Chapter 14
Channels and the Electrical Properties of Membranes

Aquaporins
Aquaporins or AQPs are a family of integral membrane proteins whose primary function is to transport water, while some called aquaglyceroporins also…
Non-gated Ion Channels
Ion channels are specialized proteins on the plasma membrane that allow charged ions to pass down their electrochemical gradient. Their main function…
Ligand-gated Ion Channels
Ligand-gated ion channels are transmembrane proteins with a channel for ions to pass through and a binding site for a ligand. The channel opens only…
Voltage-gated Ion Channels
Voltage-gated ion channels are transmembrane proteins that open and close in response to changes in the membrane potential. They are present on the…
Mechanically-gated Ion Channels
Mechanically-gated ion channels are proteins found in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell membranes that open in response to mechanical stress. Tension,…
Neuron Structure
Neurons are the main type of cell in the nervous system that generate and transmit electrochemical signals. They primarily communicate with each…
Resting Membrane Potential
The relative difference in electrical charge, or voltage, between the inside and the outside of a cell membrane, is called the membrane potential. It…
Resting Potential Decay
The resting membrane potential of a neuron (-70mV) is sustained due to the selective ion permeability of the membrane. At the resting potential, the…
Action Potential
Neurons communicate by firing action potentials—the electrochemical signal that is propagated along the axon. The signal results in the release…
Channel Rhodopsins
Most organisms use photoreceptors to sense and respond to light. Examples of photoreceptors include bacteriorhodopsins and bacteriophytochromes in…
Patch Clamp
Many fundamental cell functions such as muscle contraction and nerve transmission rely on the electrical signals produced by the movement of…
Electrical Synapses
Electrical synapses found in all nervous systems play important and unique roles. In these synapses, the presynaptic and postsynaptic membranes are…
Chemical Synapses
Chemical synapses are specialized sites between two neurons or between a neuron and a non-neuronal cell like a muscle, glandular or sensory…
Excitatory and Inhibitory Effects of Neurotransmitters
When an action potential reaches the presynaptic axon terminal, it releases neurotransmitters from the neuron into the synaptic cleft at a chemical…
Muscle Contraction
In skeletal muscles, acetylcholine is released by nerve terminals at the motor endplate—the point of synaptic communication between motor…
The Role of Ion Channels in Neuronal Computation
A postsynaptic neuron usually receives numerous impulses from several other presynaptic neurons. The axon hillock of the postsynaptic neuron…
Long-term Potentiation
Long-term potentiation, or LTP, is one of the ways by which synaptic plasticity—changes in the strength of chemical synapses—can occur in…
Long-term Depression
Long-term depression, or LTD, is one of the ways by which synaptic plasticity—changes in the strength of chemical synapses—can occur in…
Lipid Bilayer Experiments with Contact Bubble Bilayers for Patch-Clampers
Lipid bilayers provide a unique experimental platform for functional studies of ion channels, allowing the examination of channel-membrane…
Use of In Vivo Single-fiber Recording and Intact Dorsal Root Ganglion with Attached Sciatic Nerve to Examine the Mechanism of Conduction Failure
Single-fiber recording has been a classical and effective electrophysiological technique over the last few decades because of its specific…
FM Dye Cycling at the Synapse: Comparing High Potassium Depolarization, Electrical and Channelrhodopsin Stimulation
FM dyes are used to study the synaptic vesicle (SV) cycle. These amphipathic probes have a hydrophilic head and hydrophobic tail, making them…

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