About this Research Topic
Ion channel research has increased tremendously in the past 35 years since the first publication of the patch clamp technique by Neher and Sakmann in 1976. This is documented by the rising number of publications listed in Pubmed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed) including the keyword ‘ion channel’ from just 186 hits in 1976 to almost 180,000 hits today.
Ion channels attract this great interest due to their pivotal role in the control of fundamental physiological processes in a plethora of different tissues. Moreover, their importance in a wide range of inherited and drug-induced pathologies spanning all major therapeutic areas makes them attractive targets for pharmacological drug screening and potential risk factors when assessing drug safety (Ashcroft, 2006; Clare, 2010; Dunlop 2008; Milligan 2009).
Several methods and technologies have been developed to meet the analytical needs for studying ion channels. These approaches have addressed ion channel function directly as well as in the context of the cell and tissue. Scaling of these technologies has allowed ion channel analysis to be carried out on high throughput and high content assay systems.
In this Research Topic we want to provide an up-to-date collection of the latest developments and improvements in ion channel screening; defining the cutting edge and indicating further developments required in the future.
Clare JJ. Targeting ion channels for drug discovery.Discov Med. 2010 Mar;9(46):253-60
Ashcroft FM. From molecule to malady. Nature 440:440-7, 2006.
Dunlop J, Bowlby M, Peri R, Vasilyev D, Arias R. High-throughput electrophysiology: an emerging paradigm for ion-channel screening and physiology. Nat Rev Drug Discov. 2008 Apr;7(4):358-68.
Milligan CJ, Li J, Sukumar P, Majeed Y, Dallas ML, English A, Emery P, Porter KE, Smith AM, McFadzean I, Beccano-Kelly D, Bahnasi Y, Cheong A, Naylor J, Zeng F, Liu X, Gamper N, Jiang LH, Pearson HA, Peers C, Robertson B, Beech DJ. Robotic multiwell planar patch-clamp for native and primary mammalian cells. Nat Protoc. 2009;4(2):244-55.
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