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Pannexin helps cells talk to one another

A new study on how a group of proteins called pannexins form communication channels between two cells demonstrates what scientists have long been struggling to confirm1. The study shows that pannexins do form ‘gap junctions’ in specific cell lines where these proteins are less glycosylated (or less attached to sugar molecules).

Pannexins were discovered in 2003 and are believed to be structurally similar to their better known cousins connexin.  In vertebrates, cells communicate through inter-cellular channels called ‘gap junctions’ made out of proteins called connexins. These junctions help exchange metabolites, signaling molecules and ions. In the heart, gap junctions carry electrical impulses helping rhythmic contraction and relaxation. Interruption of junctional communication in the heart may lead to arrhythmia and heart attack. In the nervous system, gap junctions form electrical synapses and help propagate nerve impulses.

Read More: Nature India

  • G. Sahu, S. Sukumaran, and A. K. Bera (2014) Pannexins form gap junctions with electrophysiological and pharmacological properties distinct from connexins Sci rep 4:4955

2014 Summer Workshop on Bioprocess Engineering



Department of Biotechnology, IIT Madras is organising a summer workshop on “Problem Solving Skills in Bioprocess Engineering”.

Bioprocess engineering principles and techniques are necessary in environmental remediation, pharmaceuticals, industrial enzymes, agro chemicals, food processing, bio-energy/bio-refinery, specialty chemicals, biomaterials and fermentation industries. It encompasses Bioenergetics, Kinetics of enzymatic reactions, Kinetics of cell growth and product formation, fermentation, Transport phenomena in bioprocess systems, Bioreactors and scale up, Downstream processing, and Upstream processing.

Problem solving skills are very important for design, development, scale-up and manufacturing of bio products. Theory/ lecture notes can be picked by a student from various on-line resources, but problem solving skills (tutorial) have to be acquired with the guidance of experts.

Who should attend?

Any science or technology graduate/post graduate and research scholar student, teachers and industry personnel.

Registration closes on June 9, 2014.