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Pharmacology and Neuroscience

Dr. Dean Smith

Vice President - Research

Program Description

During the past four years, we have been culturing embryonic stem cells (rodent and human) with the goal of directing their differentiation into neurons.  In that context, we have been characterizing various physiological features at different stages of stem-cell differentiation, with special emphasis on voltage-gated potassium channels.  We use electrophysiological (mainly patch-clamp), immunocytochemical, and biochemical (for example, Western blot and PCR) assay procedures.The goal is to develop highly-purified populations of neurons with predictable physiological characteristics that are suitable for therapeutic use.

Representative Publications

Hamilton, B.R. and Smith, D.O. (1991). Autoreceptor-mediated purinergic and cholinergic inhibition of motor nerve terminal calcium currents in rats. J. Physiol. (Lond.) 432, 343-354.

Lu, Z. and Smith, D.O. (1991). Adenosine 5'-triphosphate increases acetylcholine channel opening frequency in rat skeletal muscle.J. Physiol. (Lond.), 436, 45-56.

Smith, D.O., Franke, C., Rosenheimer, J.L., Zufall, F., and Hatt, H. (1991). Glutamate-activated channels in adult rat ventral spinal cord cells. J. Neurophysiol., 66, 369-378.

Smith, D.O., Franke, C., Rosenheimer, J.L., Zufall, F., and Hatt, H. (1991). Desensitization and resensitization rates of glutamate-activated channels may regulate motoneuron excitability. J. Neurophysiol., 60, 1166-1175.

Smith, D.O., Conklin, M.W., Jensen, P.J., and Atchison, W.D. (1995). Decreased calcium currents in motor nerve terminals of mice with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. J. Physiol. (Lond). 487.1, 115-123.

Smith, D.O., Jensen, P., Lowe, D., Temkin, R., and Hatt, H. (1995). Dopamine increases glutamate-activated currents in spinal motoneurons. J. Neurosci. 15, 3905-3912.

Cui, C., Smith, D.O., and Adler, J. (1995). Characterization of mechanosensitive channels in Escherichia coli cytoplasmic membrane by whole-cell patch clamp recording.J. Memb. Biol. 144, 31 42.

Good, T.A., Smith, D.O., and Murphy, R.M. (1996). β-amyloid peptide blocks the fast-inactivating K+current in rat hippocampal neurons. Biophys. J. 70, 296-304.

Lowe, D.L., Jahn, K., and Smith, D.O. (1997). Glutamate receptor editing in the mammalian hippocampus and avian neurons. Mol. Brain Res. 48, 37-44.

Temkin, R., Lowe, D.L., Jensen, P., Hatt, H., and Smith, D.O. (1997). Expression of glutamate receptor subunits in α-motoneurons. Mol. Brain Res., 52, 38-45.

For further information contact Dr.Dean Smith