The overall research goal of the Murthy Lab is to define how MA ion channels detect and respond to physical stimuli, and understand how this response governs mammalian physiology. We recently identified the OSCA/TMEM63 family of proteins as MA ion channels that are conserved across plants and animals. Different isoforms within the family have distinct biophysical and gating properties, as well as disparate expression profiles in plants and animals. Therefore, molecular and physiological characterization of these ion channels can contribute to the current understanding of mechanotransduction.
Some questions that we are interested in are:
How do they contribute to mammalian physiology? For example, in the somatosensory system.
How do these ion channels sense force?
What is the physiological basis behind distinct gating and biophysical properties of OSCAs?
Our lab employs patch-clamp electrophysiology, calcium imaging, structural studies, and mouse genetics and behavior to address these questions.