Gustavo Contreras

Postdoctoral Researcher

“Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso”.
Research Area: Cellular Signaling.
Conexin Laboratory, Professor Carlos González
Ph.D. in Neuroscience, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile (2013).
Biomedical Engenieering, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile (2008).

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information:
E-mail: gustavo.contreras at,
Teléfono: (56)-(32)-250 8047
Fax: (56)-(32)-250 8047

Address: Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencia de Valparaíso.
Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Valparaíso.
Gran Bretaña 1111. Playa Ancha. Valparaíso. Chile.

Research Statement:

Our lab is focused in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the operation of voltage-dependent ion channels, employing molecular biology, classic electrophysiology (patch clamp), voltage clamp fluorometry (VCF), cellular biology, and molecular dynamic approaches.
In my current project, I am interested in the cardiac isoform of the dihydropyridine sensitive Ca2+ channel (CaV1.2), which is a critical regulator of muscle and neural function. In physiological context, calcium entry into the cell through voltage-dependent calcium channels (CaV) coupling an electrical signal to a chemical stimulus that regulates from muscle contraction to gene expression. The wide range of functions of Ca2+ ions involves a high-regulated homeostasis, one of them is the ability of on/off sources of Ca2+. The subfamily of small similar to RAS (RGK) GTPases, has been identified as the most potent inhibitor of CaV1.2. RGK can act through different mechanisms that decrease calcium current (ICa2+): i) removal of CaV1.2 by endocytosis; ii) decrease the open probability (Po) of the channel; iii) immobilization of the voltage sensor (VSD) channel domains. This project seeks to establish the molecular mechanisms of inhibition of CaV1.2 by RGK proteins and progress in understanding the link between functional domains of CaV1.2.


  1. Karen Castillo, Gustavo F. Contreras, Yolima Torres, Osvaldo Alvarez, Alan Neely, Carlos Gonzalez and Ramon Latorre. 2014. The modulation of BK channel gating by β subunits appears to involve two molecular regions of the auxiliary protein. Under preparation.
  2. Willy Carrasquel-Ursulaez, Gustavo F. Contreras, Romina Sepúlveda, Daniel Aguayo, Fernando González-Nilo, Carlos González and Ramón Latorre. 2014. The BK channel S6 transmembrane domain is a stimuli integration node. Under preparation.
  3. Gustavo F. Contreras, Karen Castillo, Nicolás Enrique, Willy Carrasquel-Ursulaez, Juan Pablo Castillo, Verónica Milesi, Alan Neely, Osvaldo Alvarez, Gonzalo Ferreira, Carlos Gonzalez and Ramon Latorre.( 2013). A BK (Slo1) Channel Journey from Molecule to Physiology. Channels (7)6.
  4. Contreras GF, Neely A, Alvarez O, Gonzalez C, Latorre R, Modulation of BK channel voltage gating by different auxiliary beta subunits., PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109, 46, 2012, 18991-18996, DOI/URL: 10.1073/pnas.1216953109.
  5. Gonzalez C, Contreras G, Peysler A, Larsson P, Neely A, Latorre R, Voltage sensor of ion channels and enzymes., Biophysical Reviews, 4, 1, 2012, 1-15, DOI/URL: 10.1007/s12551-011-0061-8
  6. Gonzalez-Gutierrez G, Miranda-Laferte E, Contreras G, Neely A, Hidalgo P, Swapping the I-II intracellular linker between L-type CaV1.2 and R-type CaV2.3 high-voltage gated calcium channels exchanges activation attributes., Channels (Austin), 4, 1, 2010, 42-50, DOI/URL:
  7. González-Pérez V, Neely A, Tapia C, González-Gutiérrez G, Contreras G, Orio P, Lagos V, Rojas G, Estévez T, Stack K, Naranjo D, Slow inactivation in Shaker K channels is delayed by intracellular tetraethylammonium., The Journal of General Physiology, 132, 6, 2008, 633-650, DOI/URL: 10.1085/jgp.200810057.


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