This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND grant agreement No 665735.

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16: Bio4Med -Role of mitochondrial potassium channels in neuroprotection

prof. Adam Szewczyk
Foreign partner:
Prof. Wolfram S. Kunz (Department of Epileptology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany
Epilepsy and stroke are the most common neurologic disorders affecting a substantial part of the population worldwide. These disorders represents the situation of increased neuronal activity associated with the enhanced demands for sufficient energy supply. Epilepsy and stroke are associated with enormous ion gradients rearrangements which should be restored by active transports in order to protect against cell swelling and cell death. Potassium ions are important determinant of membrane potential (ΔΨm) and consequently of the proton motive force that drives ATP synthesis in mitochondria. Mitochondria play central role in energy supply in neuronal cell, but beside this they are also a key player in many other cellular processes including those leading to neuronal death. In mitochondria several types of potassium channels are expressed and they play an important role in cytoprotection. Although the exact mechanism of neuroprotection is still elusive, potassium-dependent depolarization of mitochondria might prevent deleterious mitochondrial Ca2 +-overload and ROS formation. The involvement of potassium channels such as ATP-regulated potassium channels, BK-channels, double pore TASK and Kv potassium channels were documented. Potential neuroprotective role has been attributed to these channels in ischemic preconditioning conditions. We postulate that the potassium channels are also involved in epilepsy.
Identification of molecular components involved in mitochondrial potassium channels regulation in neuroprotective phenomenon. Electrophysiological, biochemical and immunological techniques to characterize mitochondrial mechanism(s) involved in neurodegeneration with specific focus on mitochondrial potassium channels will be used.
Accomplished Master degree in biotechnology, biology, chemistry, physics or related field. Excellence in cell biology tools. Strong and genuine motivation to perform research as well as determination to solve scientific problems. Candidates must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in Poland for more than 12 months in the past 3 years.