Goal 1: Promote Human Health

Hierarchical control of cardiac excitability

Imbalances in membrane excitability underlie a broad range of cardiac arrhythmias and conduction defects. Although we now know the genes encoding almost all ion channels, we have little understanding of how the macromolecular composition and relative numbers of different channel types is achieved to exert exquisite control over membrane potential changes in time. Even minor changes in this balance can lead to sudden cardiac death and disturbances of membrane excitability in many other systems.

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Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? : Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC :

The mechanisms involved reside at every conceivable level – genomic and epigenetic, transcriptional, translational and posttranslational. The tools required include structural biology, super resolution microscopy, single-molecule measurements, advanced molecular biology approaches, and bioinformatics and systems biology approaches. Fulfilling this unmet need will inform any system in which stoichiometry of macromolecular complexes critically determines normal function, and will therefore have a broad, transformative reach. The work will reveal novel mechanisms that will serve as targets for disease and therapeutic approaches.

Feasibility and challenges of addressing this CQ or CC :

Addressing this problem requires coordinated efforts by multidisciplinary investigators using diverse approaches as described above. Above all it requires a commitment of resources to basic science advances without which translation is impossible.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea : Gail Robertson

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Idea No. 1060