Group of Molecular Neurobiology

Vitya Vardanyan

Head of the group, PhD

Group members

Tatevik Karapetyan
Senior laboratory assistant
Liana Mkrtchyan
Senior laboratory assistant

General information

Investigations in our research group are focused on uncovering the molecular mechanisms underlying the gating,
selectivity, expression and modulation of ion channels. We also study the pathological mechanisms of events leading
to human diseases due to impaired function of channels. The focus of our research is predominantly on K + channels,
particularly those of KCNQ and Kv2 family. A large number of human diseases are associated with mutations in
these channels that occur both inheritably or spontaneously. We investigate biophysical, biochemical and structural
properties of corresponding mutants in vitro utilizing a broad spectrum of molecular biological, biochemical,
electrophysiological and imaging techniques.
Our long term projects are:

  • modulation mechanism of KCNQ1 channels by external K + ;
  • investigation of the pathological mechanisms underlying the developmental and epileptic encephalopathies
    associated with KCNB1 gene mutations;
  • functional role of the Zn 2+ -binding domain of Kv2 channels.

Current Research Projects

  • «Practical training in molecular and cellular biology to advance education and research at two strategic
    universities in Armenia», VW Foundation / AZ9A908

Selected publications

1. Schütter N, Barreto YC, Vardanyan V, Hornig S, Hyslop S, Marangoni S, Rodrigues-Simioni L, Pongs O, Dal
Belo CA. Inhibition of Kv2.1 Potassium Channels by MiDCA1, A Pre-Synaptically Active PLA2-Type Toxin
from Micrurus dumerilii carinicauda Coral Snake Venom. Toxins (Basel). 2019 Jun 12;11(6):335. doi:
2. Vardanyan V, Pongs O. Coupling of voltage-sensors to the channel pore: a comparative view. Front Pharmacol.
2012 Jul 27;3:145. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2012.00145
3. Heidenreich M, Lechner SG, Vardanyan V, Wetzel C, Cremers CW, De Leenheer EM, Aránguez G, Moreno-
Pelayo MÁ, Jentsch TJ, Lewin GR. KCNQ4 K(+) channels tune mechanoreceptors for normal touch sensation in
mouse and man. Nat Neurosci. 2011 Nov 20;15(1):138-45. doi: 10.1038/nn.2985
4. Ma LJ, Ohmert I, Vardanyan V. Allosteric features of KCNQ1 gating revealed by alanine scanning mutagenesis.
Biophys J. 2011 Feb 16;100(4):885-94. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.12.3726
5. Ader C, Schneider R, Hornig S, Velisetty P, Vardanyan V, Giller K, Ohmert I, Becker S, Pongs O, Baldus M.
Coupling of activation and inactivation gate in a K+-channel: potassium and ligand sensitivity. EMBO J. 2009
Sep 16;28(18):2825-34. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2009.218