Supervisor: Professor Roger C Hardie
Drosophila photoreceptors represent an important genetic model for sensory transduction and G-protein coupled signaling. The light response is mediated by phospholipase C (PLC), which leads to the activation of two distinct Ca2+ permeable channels (“TRP” and “TRPL”) by mechanisms that are still unresolved. First discovered in the Drosophila eye, TRP channels are now recognized as a major cation channel family playing vital roles in Ca2+ signaling throughout the body. In the photoreceptors TRP-mediated Ca2+ influx acts at multiple molecular targets, shaping the kinetics of the light response, mediating light adaptation, and regulating a host of cellular responses.
A range of projects are available to study the cellular and molecular machinery underlying phototransduction in Drosophila. These include studies on the roles of Ca2+, PIP2, protons and mechanical force in TRP channel regulation; structure-function studies of the TRP channels and the molecular basic of regulation of different steps in the transduction cascade. Techniques available include: electrophysiology (incl single channel and whole-cell patch clamp); imaging of genetically encoded optical probes (incl. Ca2+ and lipid binding probes); molecular biology; classical and molecular genetics.
Hardie RC, Franze K (2012) Photomechanical responses in Drosophila photoreceptors. Science 338:260-263.
Hardie RC, Liu CH, Randall AS, Sengupta S (2015) In vivo tracking of phosphoinositides in Drosophila photoreceptors. J Cell Sci 128:4328-4340.
Hardie RC, Juusola M (2015) Phototransduction in Drosophila. Curr Opin Neurobiol 34C:37-45.