Kristen M.S. O'Connell, Ph.D.
B.S., Villanova University
Ph.D., University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
Cellular electrical activity is critically dependent upon the activity of a group of proteins called ion channels. The regulation of excitability is dependent on not only the intrinsic biophysical properties of these channels but also on their number and localization. My laboratory is interested in the targeting and localization of one subtype of ion channels, voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channels. Kv channels are possibly the most diverse family of ion channels, which allows for very precise regulation of excitability. Most cells express multiple isoforms of Kv channels, with each type targeted to a different part of the cell ? for example, Kv1.4 channels are localized to the axon, Kv2.1 channels are found only on the cell body and Kv4.2 channels are targeted to the dendritic arbor.
Our current focus is on understanding the mechanisms that underlie the specific distribution of these Kv channels and how channel localization affects electrical signaling. We use an interdisciplinary approach to address these questions in acutely dissociated cells as well as primary neuronal cultures. Techniques we use include electrophysiology, single molecule imaging, live cell fluorescence imaging, immunocytochemistry, protein biochemistry, molecular biology and transgenic mice.
Research Support 2006-2011, NIH Pathway to Independence Award (K99/R00), Cell Biology of Cardiac Ion Channels, P.I.
Selected Publications1. O'Connell, K.M., J.D. Whitesell, and M.M. Tamkun. 2008. Localization and mobility of the delayed-rectifer K+ channel Kv2.1 in adult cardiomyocytes. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 294:H229-237.
2. Tamkun, M.M., O'Connell K.M., and A.S. Rolig. 2007. A cytoskeletal-based perimeter fence selectively corrals a sub-population of cell surface Kv2.1 channels. J Cell Sci. 120:2413-2423.
3. O'Connell, K.M., A.S. Rolig, J.D. Whitesell, and M.M. Tamkun. 2006. Kv2.1 potassium channels are retained within dynamic cell surface microdomains that are defined by a perimeter fence. J Neurosci. 26:9609-9618.
4. O'Connell, K.M., and M.M. Tamkun. 2005. Targeting of voltage-gated potassium channel isoforms to distinct cell surface microdomains. J Cell Sci. 118:2155-2166.
5. O'Connell, K.M., J.R. Martens, and M.M. Tamkun. 2004. Localization of ion channels to lipid Raft domains within the cardiovascular system. Trends Cardiovasc Med. 14:37-42.
Last modified 2/26/10 2:47 PM
My Personal Page
Physiology Home Page|
UT Memphis Home Page