Determining the mechanism of electrical transduction in nonciliated stretch receptors (PhD)

Crayfish (A. astacus) stretch receptors are an example of invertebrate muscle stretch receptors. They show strong homology to mammalian muscle spindles and bi-polar (dbd) neurons in D. melanogaster, which are type-II, non-ciliated, stretch-sensitive, afferent neurons. Such receptors are observed in many species and perform an important sensory role. However, they are poorly characterised. A previous biomechanical and behavioural model of A. astacus stretch receptors was produced, using the principles of elasticity and tension in a spring to describe the adaptation of a mechano-sensory ending [Swerup & Rydqvist, J.Neurophysiol., 1996]. This model has proven to be a reliable predictor of the changing mechanosensory currents in the receptor under a stretch protocol.
Currently, we have succeeded in demonstrating that a biomechanical model is sufficient and effective in describing mechanosensitive responses of stretch receptors. Furthermore, we have demonstrated that probabilistically-modelled neuronal ion channels can be incorporated into this model to more accurately reproduce the behaviour of stretch-sensitive endings. We are now acquiring experimental data from a variety of type-II, non-ciliate, stretch-sensitive endings to determine the validity of the hypothesis that endings in this class, across taxa, share a common molecular mechanism of activation. Additionally, we are using the predictions of our model, with regard to ion channel properties, to probe mechanosensory endings for ion channels, which are candidate mediators of mechanotrasnduction.

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Related Publications and Presentations

  • Thomas J. Suslak, Guy Bewick, Douglas Armstrong, and Andrew Jarman, “A model of mechanotransduction in Drosophila non-ciliated, primary endings”, IUPS, 2013.
  • Thomas J. Suslak, Douglas J. Armstrong, and Andrew Jarman, “A general mathematical model of transduction events in mechano-sensory stretch receptors”, Network: Computation in Neural Systems, 2011, 22(1-4), 133-142. View Details PDF
  • Thomas J. Suslak, Guy Bewick, Douglas J. Armstrong, and Andrew Jarman, “A general mathematical model of transduction events in mechanosensory stretch receptors”, IUPS, 2012.
  • Thomas J. Suslak, Andrew Jarman, and Douglas J. Armstrong, “A mathematical model of electrical transduction events in crayfish stretch receptors”, Scottish Neuroscience Group, 2011.
  • Thomas J. Suslak, Douglas J. Armstrong, and Andrew Jarman, “A general mathematical model of transduction events in mechano-sensory stretch receptors”, 2nd Scottish Drosophila Research Conference, 2011.
  • Thomas J. Suslak, Guy Bewick, Douglas Armstrong, and Andrew Jarman, “A model of mechanotransduction in Drosophila non-ciliated, primary endings”, Neuroinformatics 2013, 2013.
  • Thomas J. Suslak, “A mechanism for mechanotransduction in stretch sensitive endings”, 3rd Scottish Drosophila Research Conference, 2013.

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