Head of laboratory

Scientific Staff

PhD Students

Research profile

Intracellular ion channels regulate many key cellular functions by controlling the ion fluxes across intracellular compartments. Laboratory is particularly interested in potassium channels found in the inner mitochondrial membrane. We focus on the pharmacology of intracellular potassium channels, the interaction of potassium channels openers with mitochondria, and the role of mitochondria in cytoprotection. Our overall objective is to study the role of intracellular potassium channels in cellular function during health and disease. The laboratory was established in June 1999, and is focused on mitochondrial potassium channels.

Current research activities

We study the following topics:

  • interactions of mitochondrial potassium channels with regulato ry proteins,
  • mechanism of cytoprotective action of potassium channels opene rs,
  • the functional role of mitochondrial ATP-regulated and BK-types potassium channels,
  • regulation of mitochondrial potassium channels by plant-derive d substances such as flavonoids, and gaseous signaling molecules,
  • role of mitochondrial potassium channels in skin physiology.

Within our group, we use the following main techniques: patch-clamp and planar lipid bilayers for recording activity of single mitochondrial channels; high resolution respirometry; proximity biotinylation, co-immunoprecipitation, and Blue-Native PAGE for analysis of mitochondrial potassium channels interactomes; high resolution microscopy; CRISPR-Cas9 for construction of functional knock-outs of ion channel subunits.

Selected publications

Rotko, D, Bednarczyk, P, Koprowski, P, Kunz WS, Szewczyk, A, Kulawiak B. (2020) Heme is required for carbon monoxide activation of mitochondrial BKCa channel. Eur. J. Pharmacol., 881, 173191.

Laskowski M, Augustynek B, Bednarczyk P, Żochowska M, Kalisz J, O’Rourke B, Szewczyk A, Kulawiak B. (2019) Single-Channel Properties of the ROMK-Pore-Forming Subunit of the Mitochondrial ATP-Sensitive Potassium Channel. Int J Mol Sci. 20, pii: E5323.

Kampa RP, Kicinska A, Jarmuszkiewicz W, Pasikowska-Piwko M, Dolegowska B, Debowska R, Szewczyk A, Bednarczyk P. (2019) Naringenin as an opener of mitochondrial potassium channels in dermal fibroblasts. Exp Dermatol. 28, 543-550.

Walewska A, Szewczyk A, Koprowski P. (2018) Gas Signaling Molecules and Mitochondrial Potassium Channels. Int J Mol Sci. 19, pii: E3227.

Frankenreiter S, Bednarczyk P, Kniess A, Bork NI, Straubinger J, Koprowski P, Wrzosek A, Mohr E, Logan A, Murphy MP, Gawaz M, Krieg T, Szewczyk A, Nikolaev VO, Ruth P, Lukowski R. (2017) cGMP-Elevating Compounds and Ischemic Conditioning Provide Cardioprotection Against Ischemia and Reperfusion Injury via Cardiomyocyte-Specific BK Channels. Circulation. 136, 2337-2355.