New research describes the structure of vital pump

Scientists at The Danish National Research Foundation’s Center of Excellence Center for Membrane Pumps in Cells and Disease (PUMPkin) at the University of Aarhus present new knowledge about a small pump with enormous consequences for our body. The of group scientists headed by Center leader Poul Nissen has mapped the movements of the sodium-potassium pump.

“The sodium-potassium pump is vital for our physiology, and all cells depend on its activity. Therefore it is really important that we understand in detail how it is built and how it works.” Poul Nissen explains.

The sodium-potassium pump is a vital enzyme which is anchored on the surface of the body’s cells – in the cell membrane – and as the name suggests, it pumps out some electronically charged particles which is called sodium ions and potassium ions. The new research shows that the pump changes appearance and structure in the process while pumping sodium.

The result, which is of vital importance for our understanding of the body’s functions and enhances our possibilities to develop new medicines, has been published in the scientific journal Science.

Read more on the center’s website