Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Chun Jiang

Second Advisor

Andrew Clancy

Third Advisor

William Walthall


Neurons in the Locus coeruleus (LC) play an important role in the central CO2 chemosensitivity. However, the molecular mechanisms for neuronal CO2 chemosensitivity remain unclear. To demonstrate the expression of pH/CO2 sensitive ion channels, we screened the inward rectifier K+ channels (Kir) and transient receptor protein (TRP) channels, as parallel studies in this lab suggested that certain Kir and TRP channels are involved in neuronal responses to high levels of CO2. Our results showed that several members of the Kir and TRP channel families were robustly expressed in the LC neurons at the mRNA level. Of particular interest are TRPC5, Kir4.1 and Kir5.1 channels that are all pH-sensitive. The rich expression of various pH-sensitive Kir and TRP channels suggests that these ion channels are likely to play a role in the chemosensitivity of LC neurons.


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