James Huettner

Professor of Cell Biology and Physiology, Professor of Biomedical Engineering

    • 5643 Citations
    1986 …2020

    Research output per year

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    Personal profile

    Research interests

    My laboratory studies ion channels gated by glutamate receptors. In the vertebrate CNS, glutamate receptors in the postsynaptic membrane underlie the transmission of information at excitatory synapses. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of synapses by determining the properties of glutamate receptors and of the channels that they control. We use electrophysiological recordings to study the activation and desensitization of the receptors following rapid application of glutamate. We also study compounds that block the glutamate binding site or physically occlude the ion pore. More recently, we have concentrated on a subtype of glutamate receptor that exhibits a unique form of desensitization. Comparison of the different receptor subtypes should lead to a clearer picture of how the binding of glutamate operates the channels. A second major goal of my lab is to understand the control of neuronal differentiation. We study the properties of neurons derived from human and mouse Embryonic Stem (ES) cells. We have shown that mouse ES-derived neurons express voltage-gated Na, K, and Ca channels, as well as channels gated by glutamate, GABA and glycine. Within two to three weeks after induction, some of the cells form excitatory synapses, whereas others form inhibitory connections. Using antibodies GAP43 and MAP-2 we have demonstrated the segregation of these proteins into separate axonal and somatodendritic compartments. In both their physiological properties and their ability to establish a polarized phenotype the differentiated mouse ES cells strongly resemble neurons from the CNS. Studies of human ES cell differentiation are ongoing.

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    Research Output

    Cadmium activates AMPA and NMDA receptors with M3 helix cysteine substitutions

    Wilding, T. J. & Huettner, J. E., Jul 2020, In : Journal of General Physiology. 152, 7, e201912537.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • Cadmium opens GluK2 kainate receptors with cysteine substitutions at the M3 helix bundle crossing

    Wilding, T. J. & Huettner, J. E., Apr 1 2019, In : Journal of General Physiology. 151, 4, p. 435-451 17 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 3 Scopus citations

    Visualizing pregnenolone sulfate-like modulators of NMDA receptor function reveals intracellular and plasma-membrane localization

    Chisari, M., Wilding, T. J., Brunwasser, S., Krishnan, K., Qian, M., Benz, A., Huettner, J. E., Zorumski, C. F., Covey, D. F. & Mennerick, S., Jan 2019, In : Neuropharmacology. 144, p. 91-103 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 3 Scopus citations

    Intracellular water preexchange lifetime in neurons and astrocytes

    Yang, D. M., Huettner, J. E., Bretthorst, G. L., Neil, J. J., Garbow, J. R. & Ackerman, J. J. H., Mar 2018, In : Magnetic resonance in medicine. 79, 3, p. 1616-1627 12 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 21 Scopus citations

    Regulatory networks specifying cortical interneurons from human embryonic stem cells reveal roles for CHD2 in interneuron development

    Meganathan, K., Lewis, E. M. A., Gontarz, P., Liu, S., Stanley, E. G., Elefanty, A. G., Huettner, J. E., Zhang, B. & Kroll, K. L., Dec 26 2017, In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114, 52, p. E11180-E11189

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 10 Scopus citations