Loren W. Runnels, Ph.D.
TRP channels, Early Development, Cell Survival, Kidney Disease
Our research is dedicated to investigating the physiological and pathological functions of a unique bifunctional ion channel TRPM7, which our most recent studies indicate is involved in the Wnt pathway’s control of cell adhesion and cell motility during early development. TRPM7 is a ubiquitously expressed magnesium and calcium permanent ion channel that is fused to a protein kinase. It is a member of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family with greatest homology to the TRPM6 ion channel and kinase, which as been identified as the gene responsible for the rare autosomal disorder familial hypomagnesemia with secondary hypocalcemia (HSH). We are presently investigating the function and regulation of these important ion channels in early development as well as during neuronal injury, where TRPM7 has been suggested to play an especially critical role.