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Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
Office: 6-472 BSBIowa City, IA 52242
Lab: 6-473, 6-566 BSBIowa City, IA 52242
Email: email@example.comWeb: Departmental Profile
BS, Pharmacy, University of WyomingPhD, Pharmacology, University of Washington
Biosciences Graduate ProgramDepartment of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics PhDInterdisciplinary Graduate Program in GeneticsInterdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Genetic analysis of locomotion behavior: molecular mechanisms of sensory signal transduction. Coordination of rhythmic locomotion such as crawling, swimming or walking depends upon a precisely balanced interplay between central and peripheral control mechanisms. Disruptions of this relationship caused by stroke, athletic injuries, peripheral neuropathy or osteoarthiritis can result in severe defects in motor control. Although significant advances have been made recently, we still have a relatively poor molecular understanding of how peripheral proprioceptive mechanosensory input is able to provide information about body position for moment to moment modifications of central mechanisms mediating rhythmic motor output.
Does mechanosensory signaling in proprioceptive neurons designed to detect stretch or tension require a different signaling complex than neurons functioning in external touch sensation? We have developed a genetic model system in Drosophila to examine the molecular components of proprioceptive mechanosensation in type II multiple dendritic(md) sensory neurons. We have isolated a series of locomotion mutants displaying an unusual enhanced locomotion phenotype indicative of altered motor control. These mutant larvae crawl faster and farther with fewer stops and turns than wild-type larvae. One mutant gene encodes a Drosophila epithelial sodium channel subunit, Pickpocket1, making it a candidate mechanotransduction channel. We are currently utilizing the genomic and genetic resources available in the Drosophila system to clone other enhanced locomotion genes in our collection. Combined with an electrophysiological analysis of multiple dendritic neuron function, this molecular information should allow a more detailed characterization of their physiological functions and their relationships to each other.
Date Last Modified: 06/07/2014 -
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