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Adriano Senatore*

Email: adriano.senatore@utoronto.ca
UT Mississauga
Collaborative Program in Neuroscience (CPIN) member

Research interests: The long-term goal of my research is to better understand the molecular underpinnings of synaptic evolution and diversity. To achieve this, we compare what we know about synaptic physiology and structure in mammalian and invertebrate model organisms, with two of the most early-diverging animals: 1) Placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens, a simple marine organism that exhibits motile behaviors including feeding, chemotaxis and phototaxis, yet lacks neurons, muscle and synapses; and 2) the comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi, from the most basal animal phylum Ctenophora, which appears to have independently-evolved synapses. We focus on 1) voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channels, which in humans and invertebrates play crucial roles in synaptic transmission, and on 2) synaptic scaffolding proteins, which play dynamic roles in synapse formation and homeostasis. My team and I are initiating comparative structure-function and physiology studies of Cav channels, comparing human and other invertebrate channels with highly divergent orthologues/homologues from Trichoplax and Mnemiopsis. Here, objectives are to gain evolutionary insights into the biophysical and pharmacological features of each Cav channel type, and to determine whether the roles that Cav channels play in Trichoplax and Mnemiopsis resemble known synaptic functions of Cav channels in other well-studied organisms. We are also applying high-throughput proteomics to evaluate if key protein-protein interactions that underlie synaptic scaffolding, including the association of Cav channels with pre-synaptic exocytotic machinery, are absent/present in Trichoplax, in accordance with its lack of synapses, and to define the molecular architecture of the independently-evolved and poorly understood Mnemiopsis synapse.

Assistant Professor
Department of Cell and Systems Biology -SGS Appointment

Lab Profile 

Search of Adriano Senatore's publications