Quantum Effects in Ion Channels

Recently it was demonstrated that long-lived quantum coherence exists during excitation energy transport in photosynthesis. It is a valid question up to which length, time and mass scales quantum coherence may extend, how one may detect this coherence and what, if any, role it plays for the dynamics of the system.  We have recently suggested that the selectivity filter of ion channels may exhibit quantum coherences which might be relevant for the process of ion selectivity and conduction, and have shown that these coherences might be evidenced by the emergence of resonances in the conduction of ion channels that are modulated periodically by time dependent external electric fields. Details of this proposal, and and assessments of its experimental feasibility, can be found here.

Schematic illustration of the KcsA postassium chan- nel after PDB 1K4C