Membrane transporters and channels are an important class of proteins responsible for moving essential nutrients and minerals into and out of cells. After I pioneered the development of expression cloning for the identification of membrane transport proteins, my laboratory at Harvard Medical School subsequently identified and characterized a variety of nutritionally important epithelial transporters. These include transporters of iron, vitamin C, citrate, glutamate, amino acids and peptides, as well as epithelial calcium channels.
With my return to Switzerland last summer, the efforts of my new lab at the University of Berne are being devoted to three major areas of research:
1. epithelial calcium channels and pathophysiological implications;
2. molecular physiology of iron transport;
3. therapeutic applications of membrane transporters and channels.
This Marie Curie Reintegration Grant will specifically allow me to elucidate the medical and pathological implications of the epithelial calcium channels TRPV5 and TRPV6. I propose to perform an in-depth genetic examination of the role of the TRPV5 and TRPV6 calcium channels in patients with idiopathic hypercalciuria (collaboration with Prof. Frey). Identification of disease-related variations of these genes may lead to the design of useful diagnostic tools for the examination of patients with Ca2+-related disorders. Furthermore, as a first step towards the development of therapeutic applications, I propose to develop specific inhibitors for the TRPV calcium channels.
Our functional assays for the TRPV channels will be ideally suited for designing assays for high throughput screening to identify lead drugs for pharmaceutical developments of novel calcimimetics. The results from these studies may help develop treatment strategies for kidney stone patients through in-depth knowledge of the TRPV5 and TRPV6 calcium channels.
Field of science
- /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/organic chemistry/amines
- /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds
Call for proposal
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