and water balance physiology in the Gillen lab - from whole animals to
I am interested in how animals move salts across epithelial cell layers and how epithelial salt transport is regulated. My lab uses a variety of approaches to investigate salt transport ranging from whole animal studies through molecular techniques. A variety of invertebrate model organisms are used. Two main areas of current interest are:
1) Regulation of calcium transport in the freshwater crayfish Procambarus clarkii. In collaboration with Michele Wheatly at Wright State University, my lab is looking at molecular mechanisms of calcium transport during the molt cycle and cold acclimation in crayfish. The molt cycle is an outstanding model for studying calcium transport because large vectorial movements of calcium occur during the premolt and postmolt periods. Calcium is transported from the cuticle into storage sites during the premolt, then moved back into the new cuticle during the postmolt period. These periods of rapid calcium transport are in contrast to the intermolt period where there is no net calcium transport. As expected, expression of plasma membrane calcium transporters is increased during premolt and postmolt. We are now investigating expression of calcium transporters and other proteins involved in calcium homeostasis during cold acclimation, because cold acclimation has been shown to affect cellular calcium homeostasis. We also are seeking to express these cloned genes in tissue culture cells to investigate their functional properties. By comparing the results of expression changes during the molt cycle and cold acclimation, we hope to develop a more precise understanding of how the genes involved in calcium transport are regulated.
Recent reference: White*, A.J., M.J. Northcutt*, S.E. Rohrback*, R.O. Carpenter*, M.M. Niehaus-Sauter*, Y. Gao, M.G. Wheatly, and C.M. Gillen. Characterization of sarcoplasmic calcium binding protein (SCP) variants from freshwater crayfish Procambarus clarkii. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B 160: 8–14, 2011.
Recent reference: Gillen, C.M.; Somple, M.*; Heilman,
N.R.*; Watson, N.*; Blair, C.R.*; Stulberg, M.*; Thombre, R.*; Gillen,
K.; Itagaki, H. The cation chloride cotransporter, masBSC, is widely
distributed in Manduca sexta. Journal of Insect Physiology 52: