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Channelomics is a newly emerging term for the study of membrane channels, that is; ion channels and porins. It is therefore a branch of physiology, biophysics and pharmacology. The term is not used widely and it is therefore perhaps questionable as to whether it will catch on. Channelomics particularly includes study of the gene expression, structure and function of ion channels.

Stuctural Studies

Structure and functional studies of membrane channels are closely linked, but perhaps the most famous recent work studying the structure of ion channels is the paper by Doyle et al. 1998, which led to the Nobel Prize for physiology for Prof Roderick MacKinnon. A

Functional Studies

There are a vast array of studies investingating the function of "membrane channels", these frequently combine the patch clamp technique with pharmacology. The process by which membrane channel function is altered by drugs and biochemicals is termed "channel modulation". Functional channelomic studies also includes study of diseases resulting from their mis-function. Such a disease is termed a channelopathy.


In principle, channelomics uses most of technologies of biochemistry or proteomics, however, perhaps the most important technology almost uniquely developed for channelomics is the patch clamp branch of electrophysiology.


Ion channel structure: Doyle, D. A., Morais-Cabral, J., Pfuetzner, R. A., Kuo, A, Gulbis, JM, Cohen, SL, Chait, BT, MacKinnon, R (1998) The structure of the potassium channel: molecular basis of K+ conduction and selectivity. Science 280:69-77.
Porin Structure: Preston GM, Carroll TP, Guggino WB, Agre P (1992). Appearance of water channels in Xenopus oocytes expressing red cell CHIP28 protein. Science 256(5055): 385-387
Channelopathy: Jurkat-Rott,K; Lehmann-Horn, F. (2004). The Patch Clamp Technique in Ion Channel Research. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 5(4):387-395.