August 13, 2020

Ion Channel Research Group

The Diaz-Franulic Lab

Ignacio Diaz-Franulic

Dr. Ignacio Díaz-Franulic

Research Professor

The Ion Channel Research Group is focused on understanding the structure/function relationships of temperature- and mechano-sensitive ion channels. These proteins are the building blocks of sensory responses such avoiding noxious heat and the sense of touch. Additionally, they are involved in several pathophysiological processes in cancer, asthma and other diseases, making them an attractive therapeutic target.

Line 1: Temperature sensing in Thermo-TRP channels.

The thermo-Transient Receptor Potential are ion channels whose activity exhibits an unparalleled temperature dependence. Despite the structure of several thermo-TRP channels has been determined by Cryo-electron microscopy the channel domain that detects the temperature remains unknown. Thus, our main goal in this project is to determine the structure responsible for temperature sensing (“the temperature sensor”) and thermodynamic principles driving its function.

Line 2: Gating mechanism of Mechanosensitive ion channels.

The activity of several ion channels is controlled by the mechanical force. Different to other molecular sensors -that display extensive structural homology- mechanosensitive ion channels do not show similarity in both sequence and structure. Thus, our main goal is to determine the structure and mechanisms allowing mechanical energy to drive the ion channel activity.



Temperature Sensitivity in the TRPM8 Channel is Harbored at the C-Terminal Domain
Karen Castillo, Ignacio Diaz-Franulic , Jonathan Canan, Fernando D Gonzalez-Nilo , Ramon LatorreBiophysical Journal. 2021. 10.1016/j.bpj.2020.11.2099


A folding reaction at the C-terminal domain drives temperature sensing in TRPM8 channelsIgnacio Díaz-Franulic , Natalia Raddatza, Karen Castilloa, Fernando D. González-Nilo and Ramon LatorrePNAS Latest Articles. 2020.
Novel TRPV1 Channel Agonists With Faster and More Potent Analgesic Properties Than CapsaicinYorley Duarte , Javier Cáceres, Romina V. Sepúlveda, Diego Arriagada, Pedro Olivares, Ignacio Díaz-Franulic , Jimmy Stehberg and Fernando González-Nilo.Frontier in Pharmacology. 2020.
Binding of κ-Conotoxin-PVIIA to Open and Closed Shaker K-Channels Are Differentially Affected by the Ionic StrengthNaranjo, D. & Díaz-Franulic, I.,Marine Drugs. 2020.


112Thermally-activated TRP channels: Molecular sensors for temperature detection.Castillo K, Díaz-Franulic I, Canan J,  Gonzalez-Nilo F , Latorre R.Physical Biology. 2017. DOI: 10.1088/1478-3975/aa9a6f


58Effective pore size and radius of capture for K+ ions in K-channelsMoldenhauer H., Díaz-Franulic., González-Nilo F.,Naranjo D.Scientific Reports. 2016. DOI: 10.1038/srep19893.
36Pore size matters for potassium channel conductance.Naranjo D, Moldenhauer H, Pincuntureo M, Díaz-Franulic, I.Journal General Physiology. 2016. DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201611625.


17Pore dimensions and the role of occupancy in unitary conductance of Shaker K channelsIgnacio Díaz-Franulic, Romina V. Sepúlveda, Nieves Navarro-Quezada, Fernando González-Nilo, David NaranjoJournal of Generel Physiology. 2015.DOI: 10.1085/jgp.201411353.


3K+ Conduction and Mg2+ Blockade in a Shaker Kv-Channel Single Point Mutant with an Unusually High ConductanceCristian Moscoso, Ariela Vergara-Jaque, Valeria Márquez-Miranda,‖ Romina V. Sepúlveda,‖ Ignacio Valencia,Ignacio Díaz-Franulic, Fernando González-Nilo, David Naranjo.Biophysical Journal. 2012. DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2012.08.015.