Latha Mukunda

   Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology
   Reception & Transduction
 Phone:+49 (0)3641 57 1466Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
 Fax:+49 (0)3641 57 1402Hans-Knöll-Straße 8
  emailD-07745 Jena

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PhD Thesis

started in Oct 2009
Function and regulation of insect olfactory receptors
Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Biologisch-Pharmazeutische Fakultät
First Supervisor: Prof. Dr. B.S. Hansson
Co-Supervisor(s): PD Dr. D. Wicher, S. Heinemann (FSU)

I am currently investigating the functional properties of the Drosophila odorant co-receptor Orco, especially how protein oligomerization affects the ion channel properties.

Odorant receptors (ORs) in insects form heterodimeric complexes of a ligand binding conventional receptor protein and a highly conserved odorant co-receptor protein (Orco). Odor stimulation of heterologously expressed insect ORs activated a fast ionotropic current followed by a slowly developing metabotropic current. A slowly activating current could be also obtained with cAMP stimulation in cells solely expressing Orco. An analysis of single events revealed a variable step size which may indicate that multiple Orco proteins synchronize their activity. We hypothesize that cAMP promotes synchronization by oligomerization. To test the functional role of Orco oligomerization we produced an Orco dimer and characterized its functional properties by performing calcium imaging and patch clamp experiments.
last updated on 2012-12-04