Receptors attached to G proteins participate in most of the processes of transmitting signals to the body, from receiving light, smells and tastes from the external environment to communication between cells by means of neurotransmitters. These receptors are a target for about a third of the medicines in use today and therefore it is very important to understand the molecular mechanisms that dictate their activity and particularly the connection of the different ligands to them.
Recently a new and surprising factor that controls the activity of these proteins has been discovered : changes in the electrical voltage on the surface of the cell’s membrane can cause changes in the functioning of these receptors. In the laboratory we research the molecular mechanism behind this phenomenon and its physiological significance. By using different electrophysiological and molecular methods we try to understand the connection between the structure of the receptors and their properties and we thus hope to achieve better understanding of the factors that can affect the activity of the receptors. This understanding may help in the development of more selective and effective medicines for a variety of diseases.
The research activity takes place in an independent laboratory, located in Hadassah Ein Kerem Medical Center.

Dr. Yair Ben Chaim
 [email protected]