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Investigators and Program Directors

Terrence Wagenknecht

Research Scientist, Wadsworth Center, Cellular and Molecular Basis of Diseases
Associate Professor, School of Public Health, Biomedical Sciences

Ph.D., University of Minnesota (1977)
Postdoctoral training, Brandeis University

Research Interests

My laboratory's focus is on the structure and function of a class of intracellular calcium channels (ryanodine receptors) that are found in many mammalian cells, but are particularly important in excitable cells. High resolution cryo-electron microscopy and computer image processing techniques are being used to determine the three-dimensional architectures of ryanodine receptors and of larger complexes in which they are a major component.

Ryanodine receptors are associated with the sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum, where their function is to release calcium ions into the cytoplasm from these compartments in a highly regulated manner. Ryanodine receptors play a key role in excitation-contraction coupling, the process by which an action potential causes release of calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, thereby inducing contraction. They are largest ion channels known, having a molecular mass of 2.3 million Daltons. Among the project's goals are: elucidation of the structure of the channel in its closed and open states; investigation of the structural consequences of mutations that cause certain muscular and heart diseases; and the determination of the modes of the receptor's interactions with other macromolecular components involved in excitation-contraction coupling.

>> Select Publications

Contact Information

E-mail: terry@wadsworth.org.