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Queen's University

BIOL 537 2014-15
Dr. C. Hill

Rm:        A215 Botterell Hall
Tel:        (613) 533-6000 x 78665


Our research is focused on how hepatocytes, the major epithelial cells of the liver, use the electrochemical gradients of inorganic ions to maintain their many metabolic and exocrine functions, and to support proliferative or apoptotic events characteristic of most liver diseases.  We use electrophysiological and molecular approaches to understand how ion channels contribute to the physiology of the liver.  Currently our studies are focused on (1) the role of a non‐selective cation channel (TRPM7) in cell survival, and (2) the regulation of the channel by magnesium. 

TRPM7 is an ion channel with a kinase domain – a ‘chanzyme’.  The channel domain conducts divalent cations such as magnesium across the plasma membrane into the cell to support synthetic processes in rapidly dividing cells.  A role for the kinase domain has not been established although evidence from similar kinases predicts a role in the cell cycle.  We recently showed that TRPM7 is expressed in the nuclear envelope as well as the plasma membrane.  The following questions could address the relationship between chanzyme function and subcellular localization:

Where does the isolated kinase domain localize in different stages of the cell cycle?

How does cell cycle disruption affect TRPM7 localization? 

How do mutations in magnesium binding affect channel function?

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000