Dr Sergiy Sylantyev

Chancellor's Fellow

Research summary

In all living neural cells there is a general mechanism of intercellular signalling that relies on transport of different ions through specific ion channels. These channels are composed of protein molecules sensitive to a wide range of chemical and physical factors.

In our work we monitor electrical currents through individual ion channels or groups of channels to increase our knowledge of channel function and the regulatory role of different pharmacological and biophysical agents. This furthers our understanding of the signaling mechanisms among molecular complexes inside the cell, between different cells and within neural networks.

Our research priority is investigation of the mechanisms of high-speed receptor modulation induced by electrical fields in the synaptic cleft.

As we have shown recently, the electric field induced by ion currents through synaptic ion channels modulates diffusion of electrically charged neurotransmitter molecules, shaping the neural response (electrodiffusion effect). We also proved that electrodiffusion boosts activation of the metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which rapidly upregulate neurotransmitter-induced NMDA receptor currents via direct physical interaction. The key links in the mechanism are mGluRs that are physically connected to different receptor structures. Due to the wide spectrum of molecular sensors shown to be directly bound to mGluRs, this mechanism potentially plays a highly important role in central nervous system function.

Thus, we study the molecular mechanisms of high-speed modulation of different neuroreceptors evoked by electrodiffusion via mGluRs and the effects of this modulation on neural cell signalling.