The University of Utah‘s own Michael Bridge from the HSC Core Research Facilities, Cell Imaging Lab at the University of Utah is a finalist in Nikon’s Small World Competition for 2012 and represents the vision community in this competition for us with his 7th place photography entry of a Drosophila melanogaster eye organ (third-instar larvae).
Congratulations to all the winners, but from us here at Webvision, another special congratulations to Michael!
Subject: Eye organ of a Drosophila melanogaster (third-instar larvae)
This notable paper by Roger C. Hardie and Kristian Franze looks at phototransduction in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Drosophila melanogaster has a long history in vision research of informing our understanding of the biochemical processes involved in phototransduction going back almost 40 years to this paper. However, the Hardie and Franze paper looks at transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which coincidently were also first found in Drosophila in a series of papers from Montel and Rubin, Hardie and Minke and Niemeyer et. al. and have proved themselves to be fairly ubiquitous and involved in wide areas of cell function from growth cones to cellular guidance and chemotaxis. As expected, there are also many other areas where TRP channels are involved in the retina including store operated calcium channels and functions in ganglion cell calcium modulation, spiking rate and apoptosis.
This particular paper answers a fundamental question of how light functionally opens the TRP channels. It turns out that there is a surprising mechanical force that is created that then generates an electrical response far quicker than using standard chemical second messenger based systems seen in mammalians. Very interesting…
Image Credit: Bbski on Wikipedia