Towards the neuronal basis of insect magnetoreception
Although behavioral experiments have shown that many animals can sense the Earth´s magnetic field, no neural principles of reception and processing of geomagnetic field have been identified with certainty. On vertebrates, some progress was achieved and first brain structures responding to magnetic stimulation have been positively tested. Nevertheless, the localization and the mode of transduction remain unknown. The project intends to analyze the involvement of some nervous structures of insect brain into magnetoreception. It is built on the unique possibility to behaviorally test directly in laboratory the impacts of chirurgical lesions and genetic knock-downs of selected regions and genes. The major attention will be given to cryptochromes - photosensitive proteins connecting temporal and space orientation. Their ability to produce radical pairs makes them candidates for chemical, light-dependent magnetoreception. The research on relatively simple nervous system of insects may avoid some limits of vertebrate models and shed the new light on the neuronal base of animal magnetoreception.
Total number of publications: 17