Our research interests are in the areas of molecular biology, electrophysiology and pharmacology of 1) the voltage-gated sodium channel and 2) a newly discovered voltage-gated cation channel in arthropods (insects and arachnids).
Sodium channels are essential for the initiation and propagation of the action potential in almost all excitable cells. They are also the primary targets of several important classes of insecticides including pyrethroids. We have three ongoing projects in the area of the insect sodium channel:
- Mechanisms of action and resistance of sodium channel-targeted insecticides (supported by NIH)
- Pharmacology of the insect sodium channel (supported by BARD)
- Role of alternative splicing and RNA editing of the sodium channel gene in insect neurophysiology (Supported by NSF of China)
Two decades ago, Salkoff and colleagues (1987) isolated a sodium channel-like gene from Drosophila melanogaster, called DSC1 (Drosophila sodium channel 1). For nearly two decades DSC1 has been thought to encode a voltage-gated sodium channel based on its sequence similarity to sodium channels. However, in collaboration with Professor Al Goldin’s lab we made the surprising discovery that DSC1 and its orthologue in cockroaches, BSC1, encode the founding members of a novel voltage-gated cation channels (Zhou et al., 2004). Now we are using Drosophila melanogaster as the model to understand the role of the DSC1 channel in modulating insect neurophysiology and neurotoxicology. We have an ongoing project in this area:
- Role of the DSC1 family of cation channels in insect neurophysiology and neurotoxicology (supported by NIH)
Click Here to see all Publications by Dr. Dong
Dong K. (2007) Insect sodium channels and insecticide resistance. Invert. Neurosci. 7: 17-30.
Liu Z., Song W. and Dong K. (2004) Persistent tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current resulting from U-to-C RNA editing of an insect sodium channel. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:11862-11867.
Zhou W., Chung I., Liu Z. Goldin A. L. and Dong K. (2004) A voltage-gated calcium-selective channel encoded by a sodium channel-like gene. Neuron 42: 101-112.