Ion channel function in axonal conduction
Myelin sheaths insulate axons chemically and electrically to accelerate conduction velocity. Aberrant axonal firing and pathological reduction of conduction velocity is associated with de-myelination and the de-clustering and loss of low-voltage-activated potassium-channels (KV1), which are localized in juxtaparanodal regions underneath the myelin. Since it is unclear whether altered KV1-channels are the cause or result of these diseases, it is important to understand their temporal sequence and causative interaction. Employing viral gene transfer and patch-clamp recordings, I will test two potential functions of juxtaparanodal KV1-channels: 1) to electrically shape the action potential and 2) to physically anchor myelin to the axon.