Chang Lab and colleagues receive Human Frontier Science Program grant to pursue studies into the evolution of the multifunction rhodopsin protein

We are excited to announce that our lab has received a $2M grant to study the multifunctional role of rhodopsin! The research will be conducted as a collaborative effort with the Feuda lab at the University of Leicester, the Menon lab at Cornell University, and the Göpfert lab at the University of Göttingen. Check out this great article from the CSB department at UofT for more.  

Opsins are a class of proteins commonly known to function as visual pigments essential for eye vision. Research over the past decade has expanded this view, implicating their role in detecting other sensory stimuli such as heat, touch and taste in various species. Remarkably, rhodopsin Rh1, the most commonly studied opsin, can also scramble proteins inside-out at the cell membrane, suggesting a role extending beyond the senses. 

With funding from the Human Frontiers Science Program, the labs will target the Rh1 opsin in fruit flies to understand how the protein’s multiple functions constrain its sequence variation. Rhodopsin mutants that fold properly but are not present in nature will be synthesized in flies to determine whether they might gain extraordinary abilities in sensorial detection and other activities.

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