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Tooraj Mirshahi, PhD

Staff Scientist


Weis Center for Research
100 North Academy Avenue
Danville, PA 17822
Phone: 570-271-5967
Fax: 570-271-6701


PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University, 1997
Postdoctoral Training, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, 1997-2004


Signal Transduction, Cellular Regulation, Neurosciences, Cardiovascular Sciences


Ion Channels, G Proteins, Phospholipids, Electrophysiology, Trafficking


Regulation of Potassium Channels

Ion channels form a major class of membrane proteins and we are interested in their regulation and structure/function. We are particularly interested in potassium channels. These channels are implicated in cellular excitability. Kir3 channels for instance, regulate the resting membrane potential in atrial cells and reduce the heart rate in response to G proteins that are activated by muscarinic receptors upon vagus stimulation.
Our past work has focused on understanding the structural elements that mediate interactions between Kir3 channels and G proteins. We have mapped interaction sites between Gbg and the channels. Multiple interactions between the two serve distinct functional roles. For instance we have found mutants in Gb that eliminate functional interaction without affecting binding between the two proteins. We have identified sites on the channel that show preference for the Gbg that is released upon receptor activation as opposed to basal free Gbg. We are interested in understanding in detail how these interactions lead to channel activation and the molecular mechanism by which the channel gate is opened. We are also interested in finding the basis for the specificity that exists for signaling between G protein coupled receptors and potassium channels. Efforts in the lab are underway to determine where G proteins and potassium channels first interact and how they may regulate the stability and/or trafficking of one another.


Schwindinger WF, Mirshahi UL, Baylor KA, Sheridan KM, Stauffer AM, Usefof S, Stecker MM, Mirshahi T, Robishaw JD. (2012, March). Synergistic roles for G-protein ?3 and ?7 subtypes in seizure susceptibility as revealed in double knockout mice. J Biol Chem , 287(10),7121-33.   

Zechner JF, Mirshahi UL, Satapati S, Berglund ED, Rossi J, Scott MM, Still CD, Gerhard GS, Burgess SC, Mirshahi T, Aguirre V. . (2012, Nov). Weight-Independent Effects of Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass on Glucose Homeostasis via Melanocortin-4 Receptors in Mice and Humans . Gastroenterology , ePub ahead of print.   

Still CD, Wood GC, Chu X, Erdman MS, Manney CH, Benotti P, Petrick AT, Strodel WE, Mirshahi UL, Mirshahi T, Carey DJ, Gerhard GS . (2011, Aug). High allelic burden of four obesity SNPs is associated with poorer weight loss outcomes following gastric bypass surgery. Obesity , 19(8), 1676-83.   

Mirshahi UL, Still CD, Masker KK, Gerhard GS, Carey DJ, Mirshahi T. (2011, Dec). Allele Is Associated with Better Metabolic Status and More Weight Loss Following Gastric Bypass Surgery. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. , 96(12) E2088-96.   

Styer AM, Mirshahi UL, Wang C, Girard L, Jin T, Logothetis DE, Mirshahi T. (2010, Dec). G Protein {beta}{gamma} Gating Confers Volatile Anesthetic Inhibition to Kir3 Channels. J Biol Chem , 285(53):41290-9 .   

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