Gustav Akk, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Neurosciences Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program

  • 314-362-3877

  • 314-362-3899

  • 314-362-8571

  • Clinical Sciences Research Building (CSRB), Room 5540



  • GABA, ion channel, neurophysiology, nicotinic receptor, pharmacology, structure-function relations

  • Function and modulation of transmitter-gated ion channels

Research Abstract:

My lab is interested in how ligand-gated ion channel work. We focus on the GABAA and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. These receptors are mostly located in the postsynaptic cell membrane where they respond to presynaptically released transmitter molecules with a conformational change which results in the flow of ions through the cell membrane. We have been studying the mechanisms by which agonists and antagonists interact with the ligand-gated ion channels, and how these events lead to conformational changes. We are also interested in drug interactions, i.e., how the receptors behave in the presence of clinically used anesthetics and anxiolytics.

Most of the work is carried out on recombinant receptors transiently or stably expressed in a heterologous expression system, such as human embryonic kidney cells or Xenopus oocytes. We utilize an array of electrophysiological approaches: cell-attached and excised single-channel patch clamp, whole-cell and outside-out macroscopic recordings, and two-electrode voltage clamp.

Selected Publications:

Shin, D.J., Germann, A.L., Steinbach, J.H., & Akk, G. (2017). The actions of drug combinations on the GABA-A receptor manifest as curvilinear isoboles of additivity. Molecular Pharmacology 92(5):556-563.

Germann, A.L., Shin, D.J., Manion, B.D., Edge C.J., Smith, E.H., Franks, N.P., Evers, A.S., & Akk, G. (2016). Activation and modulation of recombinant glycine and GABA-A receptors by 4-halogenated analogues of propofol. British Journal of Pharmacology 173(21):3110-3120.

Li, P., & Akk, G. (2015). Synaptic-type a1b2g2L GABA-A receptors produce large persistent currents in the presence of ambient GABA and anesthetic drugs. Molecular Pharmacology 87(5):776-781.

Li. P., Bracamontes, J.R., Manion, B.D., Mennerick, S., Steinbach, J.H., Evers, A.S., & Akk, G. (2014). The neurosteroid 5β-pregnan-3α-ol-20-one enhances actions of etomidate as a positive allosteric modulator of α1β2γ2L GABA-A receptors. British Journal of Pharmacology 171(23):5446-5457.

Li, P., Eaton, M.M., Steinbach, J.H., & Akk, G. (2013). The benzodiazepine diazepam potentiates responses of α1β2γ2 γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptors activated by either γ-aminobutyric acid or allosteric agonists. Anesthesiology 118(6):1417-1425.

Last Updated: 12/8/2017 10:25:23 AM

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