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Quantitative Modeling of Calcium Signaling in Vascular Smooth Muscle Nanojunctions (QUMOCA)
Date du début: 10 févr. 2014, Date de fin: 9 févr. 2016 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

The proposed work focuses on vascular smooth muscle cells, which control our veins and arteries. Their ability to contract is governed by the amount of calcium ions inside the cell. Sodium too in these cells helps regulate cellular calcium levels. In the past two decades, researchers have observed that during muscle contraction intracellular calcium concentration varies periodically. These variations are referred to as oscillations. Our research has helped establish a link between these oscillations and the health of the cell, and consequently of our cardiovascular system. In the past we have shown that such calcium ion movements in the thin smooth muscle cells spiraling around our blood vessels are controlled by complex ultra-structure of membranes within the smooth muscle cells. Since these molecular processes take place at a scale that cannot be visualized and measured by available instrumentation, we will develop quantitative computational models of calcium and sodium movement in these cells. This will greatly enhance our understanding of the basic cellular mechanisms behind these oscillations and of the machinery that enables these mechanisms. The project will use methods and concepts from pharmacology, microscopy and biophysics. The medical relevance of this research is related to the fact that all of our daily functions including movements of our limbs, beating of our hearts, regulation of our blood circulation, as well as short term memory are regulated by movements of intracellular calcium ions. Joining the researcher's expertise in quantitative modeling of ion transport in vascular smooth muscle and the partner's knowledge and understanding of ion transporters provides an ideal situation both to improve our understanding of the above mentioned mechanisms as well as their link to cardiovascular disease.