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Thermotaxis in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii


Veraszto,  C
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

Jekely,  G
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Veraszto, C., & Jekely, G. (2011). Thermotaxis in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii. Talk presented at 12th Conference of Junior Neuroscientists of Tübingen (NeNA 2011). Heiligkreuztal, Germany.

In this project we are studying the thermotactic behavior of a newly emerged model animal and the underlying mechanism, which is still not fully understood in marine environments. The environmentally-directed swimming behaviors of planktonic larvae provide a simple, yet evolutionary conserved system with which we could explore thermosensation in marine animals. We aim to elucidate the molecular basis of thermotaxis in several planktonic larval stages, identify and localize related TRP proteins and neurons in the structure of the neuronal network. We measured the survival rate of the larvae on different temperatures, as a basis of their ecological behavior. With behavioral assays we observed larval responses to different temperatures that are valid in marine environments. We searched for TRP channels in our transcriptome database and using molecular biological tools, we identified TRP channels and localized them with in situ hybridization techniques. We established in vivo Ca-imaging with Genetically Encoded Fluorescent Proteins to visualize intracellular signaling activity.We wish to find and express every TRP channel in P. dumerilii, and study their biological properties and role in thermotaxis and/or other processes. We wish to perform in vivo optogenetics and Ca-imaging to identify neurons responsible for heat and cold sensation. In vitro experiments should be conducted on expressed PduTRP channels to relate in vivo imaging with results from behavioral assays. Furthermore we will investigate whether persistently changing environmental factors (e.g. ocean acidification and effects of global warming) influence the sensory transduction through the TRP channels and change the behavior of marine planktonic life forms.