Jun. Prof. Dr. Nora Prochnow, Experimental Neurobiology, Neuroanatomy, Faculty of Medicine

Nora Prochnow

Research Programme:

In my laboratory we address the central question concerning the influence of large pore ion channel conductances on neuronal network function and mechanisms of central nervous system’s plasticity under physiologic vs. pathophysiologic environments. We focus on the characterization of the properties of the large pore channel forming protein Pannexin1. Pannexin1 is a homologue to the invertebrate gap junction forming protein Innexin and is expressed as a unique cation and ATP-release channel in various structures of the mammalian CNS including among others the retina, neo- and archicortical structures. Since we addressed the properties of Panx1 under isolated conditions in a heterologous transfection system in neuroblastoma 2A cells, we additionally use Panx1 knockout mice to study the influence of the protein on central nervous information processing in the CA1- Schaffer collateral-commissural pathway of the Hippocampus. When reaching adult age Panx1-KO mice are characterized by an extremely skittish phenotype, revealing learning and memory disturbances, impaired (social) behavior and a great tendency for generalized convulsive seizures.
In this context we especially focus on:

  • The impact of Pannexin1 channel activity on post-synaptic response properties and synaptic plasticity of mammalian hippocampal CA1 and CA3 neurons in vitro
  • The role of Pannexin1 channel activation in the development of excitotoxicity and inflammatory processes
  • Functional investigation of Pannexin1 structural domains (mutagenesis studies + function related electrophysiology and pharmacology on the whole cell and single channel level)
  • Investigation of neuro-glial interaction in pro-inflammatory models in vitro