Dr. Lubica Lacinova

L-VGCC subtypes in normal and abnormal hippocampal excitability

Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovakia

The research focus of the Institute of Molecular Physiology and Genetics is the investigation of the structure, function and expression regulation of Ca2+ handling proteins including voltage gated Ca2+ channels and Ca2+ transporting proteins. Experimental methods employed include patch clamp, planar lipid bilayers, optical methods of intracellular ion detection, electron microprobe analysis, electron microscopy, PCR techniques, monoclonal antibody production, radioisotope techniques, etc. Principal investigators with their coworkers form ad hoc teams to address these problems from multidisciplinary aspects. Recently, the relation between structure and function of neuronal voltage-gated T-type Ca2+ channel, its gating and subunit composition was characterized. Regulation of gene expression for Ca2+ transporting proteins by external handling like experimental s tress or pharmacological intervention is being studied using various form of PCR technique. Pharmacology of L-type Ca2+ channels is investigated and compared between native preparations and recombinant expression systems to differentiate contributions of various splice variants. Excitability of native cells is being investigated in cardiac and neuronal preparations. The same preparations are used for electrophysiological analysis of cell excitability in both voltage clamp and current clamp and for biochemical investigations of gene expression or altered cell viability. Recently, gene silencing by siRNA was established.

The institute offers doctoral studies in fields of animal physiology, biochemistry and biophysics. The Laboratory of Biophysics led by L. Lacinova p rovides training in electrophysiological methods using patch clamp techniques, cell culture and transfection and work with freshly isolated cells. Their education is extended in collaboration with other institutional laboratories where students learn basic methods of molecular biology and biochemistry like real time PCR, cell viability assays and ultrastructural analysis. Specifi role of this group will be focused on training in patch-clamp-based analysis of neuronal excitability and its relation to gene expression on single cell level.

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L-type calcium channels in health and