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Yoshiro Sohma, MD, PhD

Visiting Professor, Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center
Office Location: 263 DCRC
Office Phone: 573-882-0938

Research Interests

Structure-function studies of ion channels/transporters, molecular patho-physiology of ion channels/transporters, epithelial transport

Research Description

Sohma studies the permeation and gating of a large-conductance, Ca2+-activated, voltage-dependent potassium (BKCa ) channel. BKCa channels are ubiquitously expressed in many different tissues and are known to be sensitive to membrane potential, intracellular calcium, magnesium and pH. These channels are also activated by CO and sensitive to O2 associated with hemeoxygenase-2 and, moreover, some slice-variants respond to membrane stretch. Based on these findings, BKCa channels are suggested to play an important role in integrating cell signals, a recently proposed new function of an ion channel.

Sohma is also involved in a Japanese-based collaborative project undertaking a comprehensive study of the GABAergic system in peripheral tissues (not the central nervous system) and work on GABAA receptor channels and GABAB-mediated modulation of K+ and Ca2+ channels in peripheral tissues.

Sohma studies the molecular mechanism of gating and permeation of the CFTR chloride channel, a member of the ATP-Binding Cassette (ABC) transporter superfamily, in collaboration with Dr. Tzyh-Chang Hwang. Our work has made a significant contribution to the recent advances in the biophysical understanding of the ATP-dependent gating mechanism in CFTR, and has provided great insight into a possible common functional mechanism that can be applied to the whole ABC transporter superfamily. The structure of the membrane spanning domain (MSD) in CFTR is known to be similar to that in the P-glycoprotein drug efflux pump. Understanding MSD structure/function in CFTR may lead to a better understanding of multi-drug resistance (MDR) proteins.

In addition to investigating the biophysics of the CFTR molecule itself, Sohma is also interested in studying the functional interactions of CFTR with other membrane proteins and lipids. This should help in the understanding of the complicated regulatory mechanisms that underlie physiological functions in cell membrane. I have also employed computer modeling to simulate ion transport processes in epithelial cells (e.g., bicarbonate transport in pancreatic duct cells). This approach is very useful to bridge information from molecular biophysics and cell/tissue physiology to the research field of epithelial transport.

Sohma believes that by taking such a general and comprehensive approach to the study of different channels/transporters and channel/transporter-mediated physiological systems, a “positive cooperative effect” which accelerates each research project, and provides a novel scientific standing point of view for the channel sciences.

Professional Background

  • Obtained PhD and MD from Osaka Medical College, Japan.

Selected Publications

Published by Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, 134 Research Park Dr., Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: 573-882-7588 | Fax: 573-884-4232 | Email: