The functioning of cells in the nervous system is dependent on a large number of molecules such as enzymes, receptors, transporters, neurotransmitters, channels, RNA, DNA and second messengers. Molecular neuroscientists are interested in determining how the expression of these molecules is regulated, how these molecules work and how they interact with other molecules to regulate cellular function. Techniques used to study molecular function include:
- Gene cloning and nucleic acid sequence analysis.
- Protein purification and analysis of protein structure and function.
- Determination of protein-protein and protein-nucleic acid interactions.
- Biophysical analysis of ion channels in neurons or expressed in heterologous cells.
- Kinetic analysis of radioligand binding.
- Mapping gene regulatory networks and signal transduction pathways.
- Generation of transgenic species.