Tools for Understanding Nanoscale Lipid Regulation of Ion Channels

Carol V. Robinson, Tibor Rohacs, Scott B. Hansen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

4 Scopus citations


Anionic phospholipids are minor but prominent components of the plasma membrane that are necessary for ion channel function. Their persistence in bulk membranes, in particular phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2), initially suggested they act as channel cofactors. However, recent technologies have established an emerging system of nanoscale signaling to ion channels based on lipid compartmentalization (clustering), direct lipid binding, and local lipid dynamics that allow cells to harness lipid heterogeneity to gate ion channels. The new tools to study lipid binding are set to transform our view of the membrane and answer important questions surrounding ion channel-delimited processes such as mechanosensation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-806
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Biochemical Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2019


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


  • cryo-electron microscopy
  • lipid rafts
  • mass spectrometry
  • signaling lipids
  • super-resolution imaging

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