Regulation of blood sugar is a complex process dependent on glucose-induced insulin secretion. β-cell insulin secretion is critically dependent on ion channels that regulate calcium influx. Glucose induces β-cell depolarization resulting in the firing of action potentials, which are the primary electrical signal of the β-cell. They are shaped by orchestrated activation of ion channels including the voltage dependent calcium channels (CaV1.2 and CaV1.3) and potassium channels such as the two pore domain potassium channels (K2P). Understanding the ionic mechanisms that regulate insulin secretion will help identify therapeutic modalities for diabetes that target the excitation secretion pathway.
The research focus is on the regulation of islet electrical activity by CaV channel phosphorylation and the modulation of islet membrane potential by K2P potassium channels.