The Evaluation of Cell Membrane Capacitance and Characterization of Potassium Channel Activity through SK Current Properties

The Evaluation of Cell Membrane Capacitance and Characterization of Potassium Channel Activity through SK Current Properties

Student(s):

Stephanie Ellyse Schneider

 

Advisor(s):

Dr. David W. Barnett

The analysis of cell membrane capacitance has significance in qualitative and quantitative understanding of cell secretion, excitation, and activation. The study of signal processing combines chemical signaling and the electrochemical potential within a single cell. A concise understanding of signal processing can lead to pharmaceutical advances and further understand of specific function performed by the cell. One method used for quantitative analysis in the study of cell membrane capacitance is the perforated patch clamp technique. This technique has improved the characterization of ion channels involved in signal processing in both pharmaceutical and electrophysiological areas. While the main focus within the study of cell membrane capacitance involves the understanding of disease states, reference data gathered from experiments can be used by biophysicists who focus on the behavior of neuronal signaling. This objective of this project involved the evaluation of cell membrane capacitance through the analysis of small conductance current properties. The technique causes excitation of a cell by inducing a controlled electrochemical potential. From the excitation of the cell, the secretory response can be inferred by measurement of membrane capacitance. For this project, the excitation of neuronal cells was studied in order to relate the release of neurotransmitters to cell membrane capacitance. While no results were obtained for the analysis of the cell membrane capacitance, several experiments did show cell viability. With the methods performed during the course of this year, the experiment could be reproduced to continue in the collection of data.