Project Area B
Ligand-gated ion channels
In project area B eight projects are summarized that use high-end light microscopy to unravel the function of ligand-gated ion channels, i.e. ionotropic receptors. Five of these projects focus on the analysis of specific channels in the synapse (B2, B3, B4, B5, B6), a biological structure whose dimension is too small for analysis with conventional light microscopy. Therefore, super-resolution microscopy will be applied as a powerful tool to analyze morphological properties in synapses. Although its resolution is still inferior to electron microscopy, the labeling for super-resolution microscopy is easier and it also offers the possibility to label with different fluorophores emitting light at different wavelengths. Moreover, super-resolution light microscopy bears the potential to generate data in vital preparations, although this issue is also challenging because of thermal movement of the structures to be studied. In detail, the synaptic channels are NMDA receptors, GABAA receptors, glutamate receptors of the neuromuscular junction, and presynaptic glutamate receptors of the kainate subtype as well as glycine receptors of the spinal chord.