April 29th, 2014 – Axxam SpA (Milan/Italy), a leading provider of discovery services has developed ion channelFLASH, an innovative approach for the “in vitro” study of voltage-gated ion channels. Axxam scientists have turned the idea of target activation by light impulse into a new technology platform, which allows assays for voltage-gated ion channels to be run without the need of artificial activation with KCl.
In the ion channelFLASH platform, the activation of a voltage-gated ion channel is triggered by a light impulse. This light impulse activates channel rhodopsin, a light sensitive ion channel cloned from the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinardti, which triggers a membrane depolarization thereby activating the voltage-gated ion channels. Ion channelFLASH based assays can be used on FLIPRTETRA and other similar instruments which use LED-based photon generating systems eliminating time consuming, low throughput and expensive patch-clamp based methods for ion channel discovery research. The ion channelFLASH platform, which comprises different channel rhodopsin receptors, will be used to provide clients with a turnkey approach for the generation of innovative cell-based assays as research and screening tools for the important target class of voltage-gated ion channels.
The technology is based on a license agreement with Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH (München/Germany) for the use of biological photoreceptors to directly light-activate ion channels. Under the license, Axxam gains access to the channel rhodopsin technology discovered by Ernst Bamberg and Georg Nagel from the Max Planck Institute of Biophysics (MPI) and Peter Hegemann from the University of Regensburg, which is protected through several patent applications. The MPI is an Institute of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e.V. (“MPG”), Germany´s leading basic research organization.