Cell membranes permeabilized by nsEP become permeable to small ions and water. This effect is explained the opening nanometer-size pores. However, the longevity of these pores (minutes) and their complex conductive properties have not been explained. Similar to some endogenous ion channels, nanopores are voltage- and current-sensitive, inward rectifying, and ion-selective.
We hypothesize that nanopores are not just openings in the lipid bilayer, but may in fact be complex structures involving ion channels or other membrane proteins altered or damaged by the strong electric field. This exploratory project attempts the identification of such proteins. More than 300 genes coding for ion channels will be evaluated utilizing the CRISPR for gene knock-out. We employ high-throughput nsEP exposure and screening by membrane permeability and viability assays.