Ion-channel reconstitution and patch recording offer different but complementary experimental methods. Both can be used to help provide a molecular understanding of how ion transport activity is controlled by protein structure and regulation. On the one hand, through use of reconstitution techniques, an ion channel can be isolated, purified, and/or chemically modified and reinserted into a lipid bilayer. The result is a well-characterized membrane system in which biochemical properties likely to be important in regulating transport—subunit stoichiometry, phosphorylation, methylation, lipid composition, etc.—can be monitored and controlled. On the other hand, patch recording techniques can provide the necessary sensitivity in ion transport measurements for discrimination of changes in single channel activity that are effected by structural and regulatory alterations, and the measurements can be done in an experimental geometry that allows controlled access to the membrane of bath-soluble chemical messengers and proteins.
KeywordsPlanar Lipid Bilayer Small Unilamellar Vesicle Patch Recording Single Bilayer Nicotinic AChR
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