Crina Nimigean, Ph.D.

Professor of Physiology and Biophysics

  • Professor of Physiology and Biophysics in Anesthesiology (primary appointment)
  • Professor of Biochemistry


Department of Anesthesiology, Box 124
1300 York Ave, Room W-206
New York, NY 10065


Research Areas

Research Summary:

Ion channels are key players in many physiological processes and their function is tightly regulated. The work in the lab is targeted towards understanding how ion channel structure and mechanism interrelate at the molecular level to fulfill diverse physiological needs. In particular, we are interested in ligand-gated ion channels and their allosteric regulation and we investigate them via a combination of structural, biochemical, biophysical, and electrophysiological approaches.  We use cryo-EM to determine high-resolution structures of ion channels in different conformations and in different lipid environments that we can directly assign to functional states via information from single-channel recording and other functional assays. This will ultimately pave the way towards conformationally-selective drug therapies.


Recent Publications:

  1. Schmidpeter, PAM, Petroff, JT 2nd, Khajoueinejad, L, Wague, A, Frankfater, C, Cheng, WWL et al.. Membrane phospholipids control gating of the mechanosensitive potassium leak channel TREK1. Nat Commun. 2023;14 (1):1077. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-36765-w. PubMed PMID:36841877 PubMed Central PMC9968290.
  2. Sukomon, N, Fan, C, Nimigean, CM. Ball-and-Chain Inactivation in Potassium Channels. Annu Rev Biophys. 2023; :. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-100322-072921. PubMed PMID:36626766 .
  3. Gao, X, Schmidpeter, PAM, Berka, V, Durham, RJ, Fan, C, Jayaraman, V et al.. Gating intermediates reveal inhibitory role of the voltage sensor in a cyclic nucleotide-modulated ion channel. Nat Commun. 2022;13 (1):6919. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-34673-z. PubMed PMID:36376326 PubMed Central PMC9663499.
  4. Schmidpeter, PAM, Wu, D, Rheinberger, J, Riegelhaupt, PM, Tang, H, Robinson, CV et al.. Anionic lipids unlock the gates of select ion channels in the pacemaker family. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2022;29 (11):1092-1100. doi: 10.1038/s41594-022-00851-2. PubMed PMID:36352139 PubMed Central PMC10022520.
  5. Nimigean, CM. 35 years of channelling potassium ions. Nature. 2022;608 (7924):670-672. doi: 10.1038/d41586-022-02163-3. PubMed PMID:35970879 .
  6. Sanganna Gari, RR, Montalvo-Acosta, JJ, Heath, GR, Jiang, Y, Gao, X, Nimigean, CM et al.. Correlation of membrane protein conformational and functional dynamics. Nat Commun. 2021;12 (1):4363. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-24660-1. PubMed PMID:34272395 PubMed Central PMC8285522.
  7. Schmidpeter, PAM, Nimigean, CM. Correlating ion channel structure and function. Methods Enzymol. 2021;652 :3-30. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2021.02.016. PubMed PMID:34059287 PubMed Central PMC9288845.
  8. Wague, A, Joseph, TT, Woll, KA, Bu, W, Vaidya, KA, Bhanu, NV et al.. Mechanistic insights into volatile anesthetic modulation of K2P channels. Elife. 2020;9 :. doi: 10.7554/eLife.59839. PubMed PMID:33345771 PubMed Central PMC7781597.
  9. Schmidpeter, PAM, Rheinberger, J, Nimigean, CM. Prolyl isomerization controls activation kinetics of a cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel. Nat Commun. 2020;11 (1):6401. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20104-4. PubMed PMID:33328472 PubMed Central PMC7744796.
  10. Tada, T, Fan, C, Chen, JS, Kaur, R, Stapleford, KA, Gristick, H et al.. An ACE2 Microbody Containing a Single Immunoglobulin Fc Domain Is a Potent Inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2. Cell Rep. 2020;33 (12):108528. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2020.108528. PubMed PMID:33326798 PubMed Central PMC7705358.
  11. Boiteux, C, Posson, DJ, Allen, TW, Nimigean, CM. Selectivity filter ion binding affinity determines inactivation in a potassium channel. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117 (47):29968-29978. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2009624117. PubMed PMID:33154158 PubMed Central PMC7703589.
  12. Dandey, VP, Budell, WC, Wei, H, Bobe, D, Maruthi, K, Kopylov, M et al.. Time-resolved cryo-EM using Spotiton. Nat Methods. 2020;17 (9):897-900. doi: 10.1038/s41592-020-0925-6. PubMed PMID:32778833 PubMed Central PMC7799389.
  13. Nimigean, CM. Polyamine block of MthK potassium channels. J Gen Physiol. 2020;152 (7):. doi: 10.1085/jgp.202012614. PubMed PMID:32459330 PubMed Central PMC7335008.
  14. Fan, C, Sukomon, N, Flood, E, Rheinberger, J, Allen, TW, Nimigean, CM et al.. Ball-and-chain inactivation in a calcium-gated potassium channel. Nature. 2020;580 (7802):288-293. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2116-0. PubMed PMID:32269335 PubMed Central PMC7153497.
  15. Schmidpeter, PAM, Sukomon, N, Nimigean, CM. Reconstitution of Membrane Proteins into Platforms Suitable for Biophysical and Structural Analyses. Methods Mol Biol. 2020;2127 :191-205. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-0373-4_14. PubMed PMID:32112324 PubMed Central PMC9288841.
  16. Tong, A, Petroff, JT 2nd, Hsu, FF, Schmidpeter, PA, Nimigean, CM, Sharp, L et al.. Direct binding of phosphatidylglycerol at specific sites modulates desensitization of a ligand-gated ion channel. Elife. 2019;8 :. doi: 10.7554/eLife.50766. PubMed PMID:31724949 PubMed Central PMC6855808.
  17. Xu, Y, Zhang, D, Rogawski, R, Nimigean, CM, McDermott, AE. Identifying coupled clusters of allostery participants through chemical shift perturbations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116 (6):2078-2085. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1811168116. PubMed PMID:30679272 PubMed Central PMC6369819.
  18. Falzone, ME, Rheinberger, J, Lee, BC, Peyear, T, Sasset, L, Raczkowski, AM et al.. Structural basis of Ca2+-dependent activation and lipid transport by a TMEM16 scramblase. Elife. 2019;8 :. doi: 10.7554/eLife.43229. PubMed PMID:30648972 PubMed Central PMC6355197.
  19. Schmidpeter, PAM, Nimigean, CM. Fluorescence Titrations to Determine the Binding Affinity of Cyclic Nucleotides to SthK Ion Channels. Bio Protoc. 2018;8 (19):. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.3041. PubMed PMID:30417032 PubMed Central PMC6221198.
  20. Marchesi, A, Gao, X, Adaixo, R, Rheinberger, J, Stahlberg, H, Nimigean, C et al.. An iris diaphragm mechanism to gate a cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channel. Nat Commun. 2018;9 (1):3978. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-06414-8. PubMed PMID:30266906 PubMed Central PMC6162275.
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