Simon Levy



Expertise on calcium signalling in nerve cells. In most nerve cells, transient increases in intracellular free calcium concentrations (Cai) are caused primarily by influx through voltage-dependent calcium channels. Second messengers like inositol trisphosphate (InsP3) or calcium also have the ability to increase Cai through release from intracellular stores, or gating of calcium channels. The long-term goal of this laboratory is to investigate mechanisms by which second messengers modulate the excitability of nerve cells by controlling their membrane permeability. We have developed suitable technologies: i) to measure single-channel activities ii) to simultaneously measure changes in intracellular calcium and membrane currents; iii) to pressure-inject pharmacological agents to investigate putative pathways involved in neuronal excitability. The combination of these electrophysiological and pharmacological techniques have proven useful in gathering new and important information about nerve cell function. There are four main projects: 1. Intracellular calcium regulation and detection in nerve cells. Effects of second messengers on internal calcium and membrane currents in nerve cells. 2. Role of calcium-induced calcium release in the excitability of the peptidergic neurons of Aplysia californica. 3. Role of calcium and Inositol Trisphosphate in phototransduction in Limulus photoreceptors. 4. Genetic Dissociation of phototransduction in Drosophila photoreceptors.
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