Single channel properties of Kv 4.3 in SCA 19/22
I am interested in mechanistic understanding of the gating of a potassium channel and the control of its activity by auxiliary proteins. The channel, voltage-gated potassium channel Kv4.3, is encoded by the KCND3 gene. Individual point mutations in this gene lead to the neurodegenerative disease spinocerebellar ataxia 19/22 (SCA19/22). My PhD project aims to unravel the working mechanism of the wild-type and SCA19/22-mutated Kv4.3 channel by characterizing its electrophysiological properties at the single-channel level. I do this by combining two approaches. First, I study the Kv4.3 channel in the cellular environment (i.e., whole-cell system) to examine the single-channel properties in a native-like complex environment comprised of cytosolic proteins and different lipid domains. Second, I examine the channel in a reconstituted system (i.e., artificial lipid bilayer). This approach provides a well-controlled environment to investigate the effect of single variables (i.e., cellular components and lipids) on the channel properties. My research will shed more light on the impact of individual mutations on the wild‑type Kv4.3 channel activity and how these mutations may affect the electrical activity of neurons (i.e., Purkinje cells).
Besides my research in an academic environment I am also involved in citizen science (e.g., building open-source hardware, drafting open-source biology protocol) and I am among the founders of the DIYbio community in Groningen.