Investigating the effects of ?-adrenergic stimulation on IKs channel trafficking in cardiac myocytes using total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy

Cardiac arrhythmia is an electrical disturbance in the heart which can cause a variety of potentially life threatening conditions. Arrhythmias are due to malfunctions in the protein channels, which in turn alter the bioelectric currents signaling each heartbeat. A key channel responsible for terminating the electrical signal is the voltage gated potassium channel, IKs. During an adrenaline spike associated with the fight or flight response, there is an increase in IKs activity although the mechanism is not well understood. The aim of this project is to examine how IKs channels are redistributed at the cell surface during stimulation. This will be achieved using a combination of electrophysiology and advanced microscopy techniques. These findings will give new insight into the mechanisms that regulate the channel and ultimately cardiac function. This information will aid in designing better pharmaceuticals to restore and maintain healthy electrical activity in the heart.

Maartje Flore & Emilie Westhoff
Superviseur universitaire: 
Dr. David Fedida
Project Year: 
British Columbia
Partner University: 
Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris