Richard Aldrich

Aldrich, Richard
Professor of Neuroscience
Karl Folkers Chair in Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research II
The National Academy of Sciences, member



Main Office: NMS 5.104
Phone: 512-232-6246

Mailing Address:
Center for Learning and Memory
1 University Station C7000
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX 78712-0805

Research Lab Students:
    Graduate Student
  • Hines, Keegan - Graduate Student
    Post Doctoral
  • Chen, Xixi - Post Doctoral
  • Greeson, Jennifer - Post Doctoral
  • Halling, D. Brent - Post Doctoral
  • Luik, Riina - Post Doctoral
  • Scott, Luisa - Post Doctoral
  • Yan, Jiusheng - Post Doctoral
  • Li, Weiyan - Staff
  • Middendorf, Thomas - Staff

  • Research Summary:

    Ion channels are the molecular units of electrical signaling in cells. They are proteins that regulate the movement of ions--such as sodium, calcium, and potassium--into and out of cells. They are responsible for the conversion of external sensory signals to the electrical language of the nervous system and for the integration of these signals to generate appropriate behavior. Ion channels are also important for the generation and regulation of the heartbeat, for contraction of muscles, and for the release of hormones in the bloodstream. The body contains a large variety of ion channel types, specialized to select for certain species of ions and to selectively open and close in response to a number of different stimuli, such as the binding of a neurotransmitter molecule or a change in the voltage that exists across a cell's membrane. Work in the Aldrich laboratory is directed towards understanding the mechanisms of ion channel function and the role of ion channels in electrical signaling and physiology. This research relates to transduction, processing, and transmission of information in the nervous other physiological systems and to basic mechanisms of coupled conformational changes in signaling proteins. We use a combination of molecular biology, electrophysiology, biophysics, cellular and systems physiology, and computational biology.

    Research Images:

    Opening and closing of a single potassium channel protein

    2012Yan, J., and Aldrich, R.W. , BK channel modulation by leucine-rich repeat containing proteins. , PNAS 109:7917-7922.
    2011Johnson B. E., D. A. Glauser, E. S. Dan-Glauser, D. B. Halling,R. W. Aldrich, & M. B. Goodman 2011. , Gating of C. elegans BK potassium channels is regulated by alternative splicing of RCK1 and the RCK1-RCK2 linker , PNAS 108:20784-20789.
    2011Chen, X. and Aldrich, RW, Charge substitution for a deep-pore residue reveals structural dynamics during BK channel gating., Journal of General Physiology 138:137-154 view.
    2011Li W, Aldrich RW., Electrostatic influences of charged inner pore residues on the conductance and gating of small conductance Ca2+ activated K+ channels., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108:5946-5953.
    2010Yan, J, and Aldrich, RW, An auxiliary LRRC26 protein allows BK channel activation at resting voltage without calcium, Nature 466:513-517.
    2009Li W, Aldrich RW., Activation of the SK potassium channel-calmodulin complex by nanomolar concentrations of terbium., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106:1075-80.
    2009Fodor AA, Aldrich RW., Convergent Evolution of Alternative Splices at Domain Boundaries of the BK Channel., Annu Rev Physiol. 71:19-36.
    2009Li W, Halling DB, Hall AW, Aldrich RW., EF hands at the N-lobe of calmodulin are required for both SK channel gating and stable SK-calmodulin interaction., J Gen Physiol 134:281-93 view.
    2008Yan J, Olsen JV, Park KS, Li W, Bildl W, Schulte U, Aldrich RW, Fakler B, Trimmer JS., Profiling the phospho-status of the BKca channel a subunit in rat brain reveals unexpected patterns and complexity., Mol Cell Proteomics. 7:2188-98.
    2006Filosa JA, Bonev AD, Straub SV, Meredith AL, Wilkerson MK, Aldrich RW, Nelson MT., Local potassium signaling couples neuronal activity to vasodilation in the brain, Nat Neurosci. 9:1397-1403.
    2006Wilkens CM, Aldrich RW., State-independent block of BK channels by an intracellular quaternary ammonium., J Gen Physiol. 128:347-364.
    2006Meredith AL, Wiler SW, Miller BH, Takahashi JS, Fodor AA, Ruby NF, Aldrich RW., BK calcium-activated potassium channels regulate circadian behavioral rhythms and pacemaker output, Nat. Neurosci. 9:1041-1049.
    2006Piskorowski, R.A., and Aldrich, R.W., Relationship between pore occupancy and gating in BK potassium channels, Journal of General Physiology 127:557-576.
    2006Fodor, A. and Aldrich, R.W. , Statistical limits to the identification of ion channel domains by sequence similarity, Journal of General Physiology 127:775-766.
    2005Brenner, R., Chen, Q.H., Vilaythong, A., Toney, G.N., Noebels, J.L., and Aldrich, R.W., BK channel 4 subunit reduces dentate gyrus excitability and protects against temporal lobe seizures, Nature Neuroscience 8:1752-1759.
    2004Fodor A.A., and Aldrich R.W., Influence of Conservation on Calculations of Amino Acid Covariance in Multiple sequence Alignments., Proteins: Structure, Function and Bioinformatics 56:211-221.
    2004Fodor A.A., and Aldrich R.W, On evolutionary conservation of thermodynamic coupling in proteins., Journal of Biological Chemistry 279:19046-19050.
    2004Sack J., Aldrich, R.W. and Gilly, W., A gastropod toxin selectively slows early transitions in the Shaker K channel�s activation pathway., Journal of General Physiology 123:685-696.
    2004Li, Weiyan and Aldrich R.W. , Unique inner pore properties of BK channels revealed by quaternary ammonium block. , Journal of General Physiology 124:43-57.
    2002Horrigan, F., and Aldrich, R.W., Coupling Between voltage-sensor Activation, Ca 2+ binding and Channel Opening in large Conductance (BK) Potassium Channels, Journal of General Physiology 120:267-305.
    2000Brenner, R., Perez, G.J., Bonev, A.D., Eckman, D.M., Kosec, J.C., Wiler, S.W., Patterson, A. J., Nelson, M. T., and Aldrich, R. W., Regulation of arterial tone and blood pressure by the beta1 subunit of the calcium-activated potassium (BK) channel, Nature 407:870-876.

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