The Membrane Transport Physiology Laboratory (laboratory of Dr. Peying Fong) aims to understand how specialized proteins, transporters and channels, coordinate their activity, thereby facilitating solute and water movement across cell membranes. These fundamental processes govern practically all critical life functions. The lab's approach toward attaining this goal is to study the structure, function, and cellular organization of transporter and channel proteins.
Several questions are currently of high interest to the Fong laboratory:
1) Functional interactions between channels and transporters: For this work, the Fong lab chose the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) and a novel transport protein, the sodium-coupled transporter of short chain fatty acids, SLC5A8. SLC5A8 co-resides with CFTR in the apical membranes of many epithelial cells. is This work is targeted at elucidating how CFTR and SLC5A8 associate (and possibly organize) in signaling complexes via protein-protein interaction domains.
2) Structure-function analysis of anion channels and transporters: these studies combine state-of-the-art in silico approaches utilized by the lab's colleague, Dr. Jeff Comer, with real-time physiological measurements of function established in the Fong Laboratory. For these studies, LRRC8 channels and CLC transporters are starting points for its models.
Diverse cell physiological, protein biochemical and molecular biological methods are employed in the Laboratory's research. The laboratory benefits from state-of-the-art Core facilities offered by the Department of Anatomy and Physiology and the Kansas State University Center for Epithelial Function in Health and Disease.