Bacterial Ion Channel Genes Might Provide Therapies for Human Heart Disorders

04:53 EDT 19 Oct 2016 | Genetic Engineering News

Biomedical engineers at Duke University say they have harvested genes for ion channels from bacteria that, with a few tweaks, can create and enhance electrical signaling in human cells, making the cells more electrically excitable. The technique could one day be used to treat cardiac arrhythmia or to restore electrical functions to scarred heart or nervous system tissues, note the scientists, adding that It might also prove useful for treating a variety of genetic diseases involving poor conductivity in human sodium and calcium channels. The study ("Engineering prokaryotic channels for control of mammalian tissue excitability") appears online in  Nature Communications. In mammals, the genes controlling the sodium ion channels responsible for a cell's electrical activity are surprisingly large. Too large, unfortunately, to be readily delivered to cells through a virus--standard procedure in modern gene therapy techniques. To skirt this size issue, the Duke team delivered smaller ion channels ...

Original Article: Bacterial Ion Channel Genes Might Provide Therapies for Human Heart Disorders


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