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MCN Monday Lectures - Summer Term 2015

The MCN Monday Lecture Series resumes with a presentation of the Humboldt Laureate Harold Zakon


Speaker: Prof. Dr. Harold Zakon (University of Texas, USA)

Title: "Electric fish are green: energy efficiency and recycling of sodium channels in electric communication"

Weakly electric fish generate electric organ discharges (EODs) from an electric organ in the tail. They sense their own EODs with sensory cells called electroreceptors to detect objects around them, and sense the EODs of other fish for communication. But EODs are metabolically expensive to generate, and can be detected by electroreceptive predators like electric eels. Some species of electric fish save energy (~30-60% of estimated costs of EOD) by ramping up their EOD amplitude only when they are active at night, and decreasing EOD amplitude when they are resting during the day. This occurs by hormone-mediated trafficking of voltage-gated sodium channels in the electric organ membrane. Also, different species of electric fish generate EODs with different frequency ranges using different types of potassium channels in the electric organ. Thus, the frequency range and amplitude of an electric communication signal is shaped by the expression and regulation of different ion channels.

Date: Monday, April 13, 2015
Time: 18:00
Location: B01.019, Biocenter, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Martinsried