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Dr. Todd M. Hennessey

Professor
Hochstetter 610
phone: (716) 645-4973
e-mail: thennes@buffalo.edu
Further research info

 

Research Summary

We are using the unicellular eukaryote Tetrahymena as a model sensory cell to study the chemosensory pathways involved in cellular responses to depolarizing chemorepellents (such as ATP, GTP, and polycations like lysozyme) and chemoattractants (like lysophosphatidic acid) as well as the mechanisms responsible for adaptation to these stimuli. We use targeted gene knockouts to study the involvement of GPCRs (G-protein coupled receptors), their G-proteins and other parts of their chemosensory transduction pathways. We incorporate intracellular electrophysiology, immunolocalization, intracellular Ca++ measurements, RT-PCR, quantitative PCR and other biochemical assays to further understand the pathways and responses of mutants and wild type to these stimuli. We also work in collaboration with several other labs to study the effects of knockout mutations on ciliary waveform, ciliary reversal and ciliary beat frequency. One of the main goals of this work is to see how similar the receptors and sensory response pathways of this simple eukaryotic cell are similar to those of higher organisms. This may allow us to use Tetrahymena as a more humane model system to gain insights into how humans and other organisms respond to chemical stimuli.

Selected Publications

  • Lampert, T.J., Coleman, K.D. and Hennessey, T.M. (2011). Chemoattraction to lysophosphatidic acid does not require a change in membrane potential in Tetrahymena thermophila. Cell Biol. Int. In Press
  • Suryavanshi,S., Bernard Eddé,B., Fox, L., Guerrero,S., Griffin, P., Hard,R., Hennessey,T., Kabi,A., Malison,D., Pennock,D., Sale,W., Wloga,D. and Gaertig,J. (2010). Tubulin Glutamylation Regulates the Motility of Cilia. Curr. Biol. 20, 435–440.
  • Rodgers, L.R. , Markle, K., Hennessey, T.M. (2008). Responses of the ciliates Tetrahymena and Paramecium to vertebrate odorants and tastants. J. Euk. Microbiol. 55(1): 27–33
  • Wood, C.R, Hard, R., Hennessey, T. M. (2007). Targeted gene disruption of dynein heavy chain 7 of Tetrahymena thermophila results in altered ciliary waveform and reduced swim speed. J Cell Sci 120 (Pt 17): 3075-85
  • Liu,S., Hennessey,T., Rankin,S. and Pennock,D.G. (2005) Mutations in genes encoding inner arm dynein heavy chains in Tetrahymena thermophila lead to axonemal hypersensitivity to Ca++. Cell Motil. & Cytoskel. 62(3):133-40.
  • Hennessey,T.M. (2005). Responses of the ciliates Tetrahymena and Paramecium to external ATP and GTP. Purinergic Signaling 1: 101-110
  • Liu,S., Hard,R., Rankin,S., Hennessey,T. and Pennock,D. (2004). Disruption of genes encoding inner arm dynein heavy chains causes motility phenotypes in Tetrahymena. Cell Motil. & Cytoskel. 59:201-214.
  • Wood,C.R. and Hennessey,T.M. (2003). PPNDS is an agonist, not an antagonist, for the ATP receptor of Paramecium. J. Exp. Biol. 206:627-636.
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