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Processing of sensory signals
Three examples of sensory cells: scheme of a sperm, a rod photoreceptor and an olfactory sensory neuron. Sensory cells transform a stimulus into an electrical signal. For example, photoreceptors in the retina of the eye detect light and generate an electrical signal via a cascade of biochemical reactions. This signal is then relayed to brain areas that compose the myriads of information into a visual scene. Likewise, olfactory sensory neurons react to odorants with an electrical signal that encodes the quality and intensity of the odor. We aim at elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying sensory signaling. To this end, we investigate the structure, function, and interactions of proteins that are involved in the generation of the cellular signal. In particular, we study ion channels that produce the electrical excitation. Among these ion channels are the cyclic nucleotide-gated (CNG) channels and the pacemaker (HCN) channels.

Molecular Sensory Systems:
U. Benjamin Kaupp

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