Colorado State University
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Research: Membrane Proteins in the CNS
Greetings and welcome to Dr. Rash's Laboratory.
Research conducted in this laboratory involves three broad areas:
Current research centers on the several roles of gap junctions between neurons and between glia cells. In addition to conventional chemical synaptic transmission, the recent discovery of "mixed" (chemical plus electrical) synapses and of pure electrical synapses in the central nervous systems of adult mammals suggest that there are additional pathways to or alternatives to chemical synapses for intercellular information exchange in the central nervous center. For example, we have recently shown that connexin36 (Cx36) and Cx45 are present in neuronal but not in glia gap junctions, whereas, Cx26, Cx30, and Cx43 are present only in astrocyte gap junctions and Cx32 and Cx47 are present only in oligodendrocyte gap junctions..
In our studies of aquaporin water channels in astrocytes and ependymocytes, we use confocal microscopy and immunocytochemistry, freeze-fracture electron microscopy, and immunogold labeling to correlate structure and function at the subcellular and molecular levels. These studies revealed that "square arrays"of intramembrane proteins in astrocyte and ependymocyte plasma membranes correspond to aquaporin4 water channels, which are essential for water homeostasis in the brain and spinal cord.
Cover Page Publications (click to see details)
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