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Nanotechnology for neuronal ion channels
  1. F Lehmann-Horn,
  2. K Jurkat-Rott
  1. Department of Physiology, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Frank Lehmann-Horn, Abteilung Angewandte Physiologie, Universität Ulm, D-89081 Ulm, Germany;


Ion channels provide the basis for the regulation of electrical excitability in the central and peripheral nervous systems. This review deals with the techniques that make the study of structure and function of single channel molecules in living cells possible. These are the patch clamp technique, which was derived from the conventional voltage clamp method and is currently being developed for automated and high throughput measurements; and fluorescence and nano-techniques, which were originally applied to non-biological surfaces and are only recently being used to study cell membranes and their proteins, especially in combination with the patch clamp technique. The characterisation of the membrane channels by techniques that resolve their morphological and physical properties and dynamics in space and time in the nano range is termed nanoscopy.

  • channelomics
  • nanoscopy
  • nanotechnology
  • patch clamp technique
  • whole cell mode
  • AFM, atomic force microscopy
  • BNFC, benign neonatal familial convulsions
  • FRAP, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching
  • FRET, fluorescent resonance energy transfer
  • TIRF, total internal reflection fluorescence

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  • Competing interests: none declared