These latest developments are covered here for the first time, contributed by editors and authors working for major pharmaceutical companies and who routinely apply these techniques in their daily work. The first three chapters cover the use of the Xenopus oocyte expression system for structure-function studies, from basic approaches for manipulating ion channel cDNAs to more specialized but powerful techniques. This is followed by reviews of strategies and methodologies available for expressing channels in mammalian cells and for their analysis by patch-clamp electrophysiology. Chapters 6 to 8 review the latest methodologies for ion channel drug discovery, including high throughput screening using fluorescence and luminescence, as well as automated planar array electrophysiology. The remaining two chapters focus on approaches for determining ion channel crystal structures and on computational approaches to understanding channel mechanisms at atomic resolution.
Rather than provide detailed protocols, indicated by references in each chapter, the authors provide a comprehensive and easily accessible overview of the techniques involved, reviewing underlying principles and providing working guidelines as well as an understanding of the key theoretical and practical considerations associated with each topic. In each case, this practical advice is illustrated by real life examples, taken either from the author's own experience or from key examples in the literature, providing valuable practical hints not found elsewhere.
The result is a compendium of practical ion channel information that will prove a valuable resource to academic and industrial workers alike.