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Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics

  Photograph of Dr. Pressley    

Thomas A. Pressley

Professor of Cell Physiology
Distinguished Visiting Professor, US Air Force Academy

Ph.D., Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, 1981
  Full Curriculum Vitae
Recent Publications
Postdoctoral Position Available!
Lecture Handouts
Wellcome Visiting Professor
DNA Sequences
Photo from 2002 International Conference on the Na,K-ATPase
2005 International Conference on the Na,K-ATPase, Woods Hole
Pressley Biography (via the American Physiological Society)
Discoverer of Na,K-ATPase, Jens Skou, shares 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
Department of Cell Physiology and Molecular Biophysics
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
3601 4th Street
Lubbock, Texas 79430
Phone: (806) 743-4056
FAX: (806) 743-1512

Currently on sabbatical at the US Air Force Academy
Dept. of Biology
2355 Faculty Drive, Suite 2P389
USAFA, CO 80840-6226
Office: 719 333-4564
    Molecular Biology of Membrane Transporters
     Since the early part of this century, physiologists have known that the interior of most animal cells is enriched in K+ and depleted in Na+ relative to the extracellular fluid. This distribution of ions is produced by the Na,K-pump (i.e., Na,K-ATPase), an intrinsic membrane protein complex that extrudes Na+ from the cell and absorbs K+ from the exterior at the expense of metabolic energy. Its turnover and the resulting ionic gradients are responsible for the potential difference across the cell membrane and indirectly control ionic balance, cellular volume, and epithelial transport. My work is focused on the function and regulation of the pump and related transporters. Exposure of cultured cells to various hormones and physiological perturbations results in changes in the abundance of Na,K-pumps. These experiments in culture serve as a convenient model to study the mechanisms by which the pump is regulated at the molecular level. A second major project in my laboratory is the study of function and structure relationships within the pump complex. To address these issues, I combine transport and enzymatic studies with the techniques of molecular biology. For the student, this multidisciplinary approach provides the opportunity to use tracer-flux and biochemical methods, electrophoresis, and DNA-mediated gene transfer to study this important transport system.
Model of Na,K-ATPase
Multimeric structure of the Na,K-ATPase complex, consisting of a catalytic alpha subunit and a glycosylated beta subunit.