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The Early Days of Single Ion Channel Recording: Proof of Concept and Surprises

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Stimulated by the groundbreaking work of Hodgkin and Huxley many laboratories in the 60s were trying to understand the mechanistic basis of permeability changes in biological membranes. A variety of mechanisms were hotly debated. Typical signatures of ion channel gating had been observed in artificial bimolecular lipid membranes (e.g. gramicidin channels in the Haydon laboratory). Bert Sakmann and myself set out to proof the ion channel concept by measuring ion currents in small membrane patches. Developing the ‘patch clamp technique’ we actually succeeded in doing so. With this tool in hand a variety of ion channel properties emerged. These are now common place, but some of them were quite surprising at that time.

This talk is part of the Cambridge University Biological Society series.

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