Irina I. Serysheva, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Director of Structural Biology Imaging Center
BCB Graduate Program

Description of Research


Our research aims to understand molecular mechanisms underlying transport of molecules into and out of the cell across the surface membrane, or between different intracellular compartments through structure-functional studies of integral membrane proteins known as ion channels, and the macromolecular complexes they form. Ion channels regulate many diverse biological functions that include muscle contraction, hormone secretion, gene transcription, metabolic regulation, neurotransmitter release, fertilization and apoptosis. The knowledge about the three dimensional (3D) architecture of ion channels is required to understand molecular basis of ion channel gating (opening/closing process), and how this process is controlled by a wide variety of endogenous molecules and pharmacological modifies. To answer these questions we use a combination of electron microscopy and computer reconstruction techniques in conjunction with biochemical, electrophysiological and molecular biological approaches. Our structure research efforts include: 1) purification of ion channels from natural sources or from high-level expression systems; 2) electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) of the purified channel assemblies; 3) computer image processing and 3D reconstruction; 4) structure analysis and annotation using combination of visualization and computational tools; 5) prediction of functional roles of the identified structural domains via bioinformatics.

Recent focus has been on structural analysis of Ca2+ channels that mediate ligand-gated release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores: the ryanodine-sensitive Ca2+ release channel (RyR), the primary Ca2+ release channel in muscle cells, and the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate-sensitive Ca2+ release channel (IP3R), localized in the endoplasmic reticulum. Both channels are large tetrameric protein complexes with a molecular mass of ~2.3 MDa for RyRs and 1.2 MDa for IP3Rs. Defects in these channel proteins cause abnormal regulation of cell Ca2+ level underlying numerous human diseases: Malignant Hyperthermia, Central Core disease, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, hereditary ataxias, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, atherosclerosis and some migraines.


Contact Information

UTHealth Medical School
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
6431 Fannin Street, MSB 6.219
Houston, Texas 77030

713-500-5523 Direct  713-500-0652 Fax


Ph.D. - A. N. Bakh Institute of Biochemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia

Postdoctoral Fellow - Moscow State University, Russia

Research Interests

Structure and Function of Calcium Channels


Gating machinery of InsP3R channels revealed by electron cryomicroscopy

Fan G, Baker ML, Wang Z, Baker MR, Sinyagovskiy PA, Chiu W, Ludtke SJ, Serysheva II

Nature. 2015 Oct 12. doi: 10.1038/nature15249. [Epub ahead of print]

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Structure of IP3R channel: high-resolution insights from cryo-EM

Structure of IP3R channel: high-resolution insights from cryo-EM. Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2017 Jun 12;46:38-47. doi: 10.1016/ Baker MR, Fan G, Serysheva II.

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An allosteric transport mechanism for the AcrAB-TolC Multidrug Efflux Pump.

An allosteric transport mechanism for the AcrAB-TolC Multidrug Efflux Pump. Elife. 2017 Mar 29;6. pii: e24905. doi: 10.7554/eLife.24905. Wang Z, Fan G, Hryc CF, Blaza JN, Serysheva II, Schmid MF, Chiu W, Luisi BF, Du D.

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Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor type 1 autoantibodies in paraneoplastic and non-paraneoplastic peripheral neuropathy.

Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor type 1 autoantibodies in paraneoplastic and non-paraneoplastic peripheral neuropathy. J Neuroinflammation. 2016 Oct 24;13(1):278. Jarius S, Ringelstein M, Haas J, Serysheva II, Komorowski L, Fechner K, Wandinger KP, Albrecht P, Hefter H, Moser A, Neuen-Jacob E, Hartung HP, Wildemann B, Aktas O.

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Toward a high-resolution structure of IP3R channel

Serysheva II. Cell Calcium. 2014 Sep;56(3):125-132. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2014.08.002

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Subnanometer-resolution electron cryomicroscopy-based domain models for the cytoplasmic region of skeletal muscle RyR channel.

Serysheva II, Ludtke SJ, Baker ML, Cong Y, Topf M, Eramian D, Sali A, Hamilton SL, Chiu W.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008 Jul 15;105(28):9610-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0803189105. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

PMID: 18621707

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Flexible architecture of IP3R1 by Cryo-EM.

Ludtke SJ, Tran TP, Ngo QT, Moiseenkova-Bell VY, Chiu W, Serysheva II.

Structure. 2011 Aug 10;19(8):1192-9. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2011.05.003.

PMID: 21827954

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Validation of Cryo-EM Structure of IP3R1 Channel.

Murray SC, Flanagan J, Popova OB, Chiu W, Ludtke SJ, Serysheva II.

Structure. 2013 Jun 4;21(6):900-9. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2013.04.016. Epub 2013 May 23.

PMID: 23707684

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Single-particle Cryo-EM of calcium release channels: structural validation.

Ludtke SJ, Serysheva II.

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2013 Oct;23(5):755-62. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2013 Jul 5.

PMID: 23831288

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Single-particle cryo-EM of the ryanodine receptor channel in an aqueous environment

Baker MR, Fan G, Serysheva II. Eur J Transl Myol. 2015;25(1):35-48.

PMID: 438180

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