Biomathematics / Computational Biology Colloquium

Extreme single-file diffusion and its application to Mg^2+ block of the NMDA receptor

Speaker: JinHyun Kim, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1314

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 12:30 p.m.


The NMDA receptor is an ion channel found at the postsynaptic membrane of neurons, and it plays an important role in Hebbian learning. The channel is blocked by Mg^2+ in its polarized resting state, and it allows Ca^2+ to enter the postsynaptic neuron only when the block is relieved by depolarization. In this talk we introduce the concept of extreme single-file diffusion, and discuss the ion channel model developed from this concept. The model accounts for the blocking of the channel by charged species, and when applied to the NMDA receptor, the model successfully reproduces the peculiar features of the NMDA receptor observed in laboratory experiments.