Large bowl-shaped structure of MG23 channel and typical recording of MG23 cation current oscillations.

Elisa Venturi

Acting Group Leader (Sitsapesan Group)

My research is focused on the functional investigation of ion-channels that are present on intracellular Ca2+-stores in cardiac and skeletal muscle. These channels include not only known Ca2+-release channels such as ryanodine receptors (RyRs) but also novel, uncharacterised cation-channels with unknown physiological roles. For example, using single-channel techniques, I have provided evidence for a novel intracellular cation-conducting channel named mitsugumin23 (MG23), which can form large homo-multimeric structures and it is thought to be involved in the regulation of apoptotic signals in cells. I am also interested in understanding how RyR channels are modulated by other nearby proteins  (such as MG23) that may be important in heart failure or other diseases that can lead to sudden cardiac death including junctophilin, calsequestrin and FKBP12/12.6. In a new project, I have been studying the actions of a group of drugs called ‘statins’, and researching into their side effects on muscle cells. I have discovered that a commonly used drug, simvastatin, affects the RyR channels in the heart differently to the RyR channels in skeletal muscle. These effects may contribute both to the usefulness of the drugs and to their side effects.