Guido A. Zampighi, D.D.S., Ph.D.


Professor, Neurobiology

Collaborator, Vestibular Neuroscience Laboratory

Member, Brain Research Institute

Contact Information

Work Phone Number: 310-825-6430

Work Address:

Los Angeles, CA 90095
Los Angeles, CA 90095


Intercellular junctions and communication

A fundamental property of cells organized in tissues is their ability to communicate with ech other via highly specialized areas of plasma membrane contact, called junctions. We are studying the gap junction and the chemical synapse, two specialized junctions that mediate electrical and chemical transmission, respectively. The gap junction is composed of specialized channels containig small hydrophilic pores that span the two plasma membranes and the intervening extracellular space (the cell-to-cell channel). We are investigating the high resolution structure of the channels as well as the mechanisms of assembly, insertion and retrieval of the connexin proteins which form them. The chemical synapse is composed of a presynaptic neuron filled with small diameter vesicles that contain high concentration of neurotransmitters and a postsynaptic neuron with receptors. We are studying the mechanisms by which the synaptic vesicles attach ("dock") to the presynaptic membrane. We use structural (electron microscopy), biochemical and electrophysiological techniques in an attempt to identify, purify and characterize the channels and transporters of both junctions in an effort to further understand the mechanisms mediating cell communication.


Zampighi GA, Fain N, Zampighi LM, Cantele F, Lanzavecchia S, Wright EM.   Conical electron tomography of a chemical synapse: polyhedral cages dock vesicles to the active zone, J Neurosci, 2008; 28(16): 4151-60.
Salvi E, Cantele F, Zampighi L, Fain N, Pigino G, Zampighi G, Lanzavecchia S.   JUST (Java User Segmentation Tool) for semi-automatic segmentation of tomographic maps, J Struct Biol, 2008; 161(3): 287-97.
Cantele F, Zampighi L, Radermacher M, Zampighi G, Lanzavecchia S.   Local refinement: an attempt to correct for shrinkage and distortion in electron tomography, J Struct Biol, 2007; 158(1): 59-70.
Lin D, Harris R, Stutzman R, Zampighi GA, Davidson H, Takemoto DJ.   Protein kinase C-gamma activation in the early streptozotocin diabetic rat lens, Curr Eye Res, 2007; 32(6): 523-32.
Zampighi GA, Zampighi LM, Fain N, Lanzavecchia S, Simon SA, Wright EM.   Conical electron tomography of a chemical synapse: vesicles docked to the active zone are hemi-fused, Biophys J, 2006; 91(8): 2910-8.
Lin D, Barnett M, Lobell S, Madgwick D, Shanks D, Willard L, Zampighi GA, Takemoto DJ.   PKCgamma knockout mouse lenses are more susceptible to oxidative stress damage, J Exp Biol, 2006; 209(Pt 21): 4371-8.
Zampighi GA, Zampighi L, Fain N, Wright EM, Cantele F, Lanzavecchia S.   Conical tomography II: A method for the study of cellular organells in thin sections, J Struct Biol, 2005; 151(3): 263-74.
Lanzavecchia S, Cantele F, Bellon PL, Zampighi L, Kreman M, Wright E, Zampighi GA.   Conical tomography of freeze-fracture replicas: a method for the study of integral membrane proteins inserted in phospholipid bilayers, J Struct Biol, 2005; 149(1): 87-98.
Zampighi GA, Planells AM, Lin D, Takemoto D.   Regulation of lens cell-to-cell communication by activation of PKCgamma and disassembly of Cx50 channels, Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci, 2005; 46(9): 3247-55.
Diez-Sampedro A, Loo DD, Wright EM, Zampighi GA, Hirayama BA.   Coupled sodium/glucose cotransport by SGLT1 requires a negative charge at position 454, Biochemistry, 2004; 43(41): 13175-84.
Zampighi LM, Kavanau CL, Zampighi GA.   The Kohonen self-organizing map: a tool for the clustering and alignment of single particles imaged using random conical tilt, J Struct Biol, 2004; 146(3): 368-80.
Zampighi GA.   Distribution of connexin50 channels and hemichannels in lens fibers: a structural approach, Cell Commun Adhes, 2003; 10(4-6): 265-70.
Zampighi, GA Kreman, M Lanzavecchia, S Turk, E Eskandari, S Zampighi, L Wright, EM   Structure of functional single AQP0 channels in phospholipid membranes Journal of molecular biology. , 2003; 325(1): 201-10.
Eskandari, S Kreman, M Kavanaugh, MP Wright, EM Zampighi, GA   Pentameric assembly of a neuronal glutamate transporter Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. , 2000; 97(15): 8641-6.
Zampighi, GA Loo, DD Kreman, M Eskandari, S Wright, EM   Functional and morphological correlates of connexin50 expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes The Journal of general physiology. , 1999; 113(4): 507-24.
Konig, N Zampighi, GA   Purification of bovine lens cell-to-cell channels composed of connexin44 and connexin50 Journal of cell science. , 1995; 108 ( Pt 9): 3091-8.
Mandel, LJ Bacallao, R Zampighi, G   Uncoupling of the molecular 'fence' and paracellular 'gate' functions in epithelial tight junctions Nature. , 1993; 361(6412): 552-5.