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Title: The evolution of innexins and their function in the electrical synapses of invertebrates
Author: Alexopoulos, Haralambos.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3411 2922
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2004
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The innexins are a recently characterized protein family that comprises gap junctions in a number of invertebrate taxa. In this thesis, novel innexins from the snail Lymnaea stagnalis, the cockroach Periplaneta Americana and the lobster Homarus gammarus are described. These results extend our knowledge of this gene family in invertebrates. Also, novel innexin-like and connexin genes are identified in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. These results help to formulate a hypothesis about the evolutionary origins of gap-junctional proteins. The role of innexins as gap-junction forming molecules is investigated in the lobster stomatogastric nervous system (STG). In situ hybridizations reveal the patterns of expression of these novel innexins, while an RNAi study attempted, but failed, to investigate the relationship between developmental changes in innexinmediated electrical coupling and the maturation of motor networks in the STG. Finally, using an antibody against the fly innexin Shaking-B, I investigate the evolution of the Giant Fiber System (GFS). The GFS in dipterous insects mediates the escape response. The identified neurons of the system are connected with electrical synapses formed by innexin proteins. The Shaking-B protein localizes at these synapses. A comparative study of a number of fly species showed conservation of some GFS synapses but species specific differences in others. These results inform our thinking about the evolution of the GFS and its underlying behavior.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available