Biff Forbush PhD
Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Membrane Proteins; Epithelial Transport; Ion Transport; Na-K-Cl Cotransporter; Nerve Cells; Muscle Cells
Regulation of intracellular ion concentrations is essential to all living cells. The transport of ions mediated by specific membrane proteins underlies control of cell volume, epithelial transport, and the maintenance of transmembrane ion gradients which underlie electrical activity in nerve and muscle cells. Our work is directed towards understanding the mechanisms by which ion transport take place, and our attention is focused on a particular family of transport proteins, the cation-chloride cotransporters. Among these, the Na-K-Cl cotransporter uses the Na gradient to drive accumulation of cellular K and Cl and is a central element in the process of net salt transport in both secretory and absorptive epithelia. We are addressing questions of protein structure, of structure-function relationships, and of protein kinase-mediated regulation, in animal models and by expression of transport proteins in cell culture.