Physiology of Ion Channels

Action potentials in neurons, the secretion of neurotransmitters and hormones, the contraction of skeletal muscles, and the heart beat are biological phenomena that are controlled by voltage-gated ion channels. These channels respond to changes in the membrane potential by opening and closing an ion permeation pathway across the membrane. This "gating" happens within milliseconds to seconds, and allows the selective passage pf specific ions (Na+, K+, Cl-, Ca2+, or H+). We study the structure-function relationships and the physiology of these channels with electrophysiological and fluorometric methods.

Selected publications

Rennhack, A., Grahn, E., Kaupp, U.B. & Berger, T.K. (2017) “Photocontrol of the Hv1 proton channel” ACS Chem.Biol., [Epub ahead of print]

Berger, T.K., Fußhöller, D.M., Goodwin, N., Bönigk, W., Müller, A., Khesroshahi, N.D., Brenker, C., Wachten, D., Krause, E., Kaupp, U.B. & Strünker, T. (2017) "Posttranslational cleavage of Hv1 in human sperm tunes pH- and voltage-dependent gating” J. Physiol. 595, 1533-1546

Fechner, S., Alvarez, L., Bönigk, W., Müller, A., Berger, T.K., Pascal, R., Trötschel, C., Poetsch, A., Stölting, G., Siegfried, K.R., Kremmer, E., Seifert, R. & Kaupp, U.B. (2015) "A K+-selective CNG channel orchestrates Ca2+ signalling in zebrafish sperm" eLife, e07624

Mony, L., Berger, T.K. & Isacoff, E.Y. (2015) "A specialized molecular motion opens the Hv1 voltage-gated proton channel" Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 22, 283-290

Berger, T.K. & Isacoff, E.Y. (2015) "Fluorescent Labeling for Patch-Clamp Fluorometry (PCF) Measurements of Real-Time Protein Motion in Ion Channels" Methods Mol. Biol. 1266, 93-106

Planert, H., Berger, T.K. & Silberberg, G. (2013) "Membrane properties of striatal direct and indirect pathway neurons in mouse and rat slices and their modulation of dopamine" PloS One 8, e57054 

Berger, T.K. & Isacoff, E.Y. (2011) "The pore of the voltage gated proton channel" Neuron 72, 991-1000

Perin, R., Berger, T.K. & Markram, H. (2011) "A synaptic organizing principle for cortical neuronal groups" Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 5419-5424

Berger, T.K., Silberberg, G., Perin, R. & Markram, H. (2010) "Brief bursts inhibit and correlate the pyramidal network" PLoS Biol. 8, e1000473

Berger, T.K., Perin, R., Silberberg, G. & Markram, H. (2009) "Frequency-dependent disynaptic inhibition in the pyramidal network: a ubiquitous pathway in the developing rat neocortex" J. Physiol. 587, 5411-5425

Wang, Y., Markram, H, Goldmann, P.H., Berger, T.K., Ma, J. & Goldmann-Rakic, P.S. (2006) "Heterogeneity in the pyramidal network of the medial prefrontal cortex" Nat. Neurosci. 9, 534-542 


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development


University of Bonn

Neuroscience Master Course:

"Principles of Neural Information Processing"

"Structure-Function Relationships of Ion Channels"


Member of "Bonner Forum für Biomedizin"