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GABA, ion channel, neurophysiology, nicotinic receptor, pharmacology, structure-function relations

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Clinical Sciences Research Building (CSRB), Room 5540



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My lab is interested in how ligand-gated ion channel work. We focus on the GABAA and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. The majority of these receptors are located in the postsynaptic cell membrane where they respond to presynaptically released transmitter molecules with a conformational change which results in the flow of ions through the cell membrane. The mechanisms by which agonists and antagonists interact with the ligand-gated ion channels, and how these events lead to conformational changes are critical to our understanding of synaptic transmission and its regulation. Most of the work is carried out on recombinant receptors transiently or stably expressed in a heterologous expression system, such as human embryonic kidney cells or Xenopus oocytes. We utilize an array of electrophysiological approaches: cell-attached and excised single-channel patch clamp, whole-cell and outside-out macroscopic recordings, and two-electrode voltage clamp. We are now establishing a method of simultaneous electrophysiology and fluorescence measurements.

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Gustav Akk

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Function and modulation of transmitter-gated ion channels

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Date Last Updated

11/10/2011 11:23 AM


Akk G, Steinbach JH. Structural studies of the actions of anesthetic drugs on the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A receptor. Anesthesiology 2011 6: (In Press).
Li P, Khatri A, Bracamontes J, Weiss DS, Steinbach JH, Akk G. Site-specific fluorescence reveals distinct structural changes induced in the human rho1 GABA receptor by inhibitory neurosteroids. Molecular Pharmacology 2010 77:539-546.
Akk G, Li P, Bracamontes J, Steinbach JH. Activation and modulation of concatemeric GABA-A receptors expressed in human embryonic kidney cells. Molecular Pharmacology 2009 75:1400-1411.
Li P, Akk G. The insecticide fipronil and its metabolite fipronil sulphone inhibit the rat a1b2g2L GABA-A receptor. British Journal of Pharmacology 2008 155:783-794.
Akk G, Shu HJ, Wang C, Steinbach JH, Zorumski CF, Covey DF, Mennerick S. Neurosteroid access to the GABA-A receptor. Journal of Neuroscience 2005 25:11605-11613.
Akk G, Steinbach JH. Galantamine activates muscle-type nicotinic acetylcholine receptors without binding to the acetylcholine-binding site. Journal of Neuroscience 2005 25:1992-2001.

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Created at 11/10/2011 11:23 AM by DBBS_SP_SAPP
Last modified at 11/10/2011 1:37 PM by Kathryn Ruzicka