Author Archives: Chang Lab

Scaling up functional analyses of the G protein-coupled receptor rhodopsin

Eukaryotic cells use G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) to convert external stimuli into internal signals to elicit cellular responses. GPCRs are critical to many biological processes; however, the effect of mutations in GPCR-coding genes on GPCR activation and downstream signaling pathways … Continue reading

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Evolution of a novel regulatory mechanism for hypoxia tolerance in electric fishes

Hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen in the tissues, is a significant source of metabolic stress. It is a major component of many human diseases, including various forms of cancer. Remarkably, there are animals that display an impressive capacity to … Continue reading

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Multiple ecological axes drive molecular evolution of cone opsins in Beloniform fishes

Beloniformes, the order including needlefishes, flying fishes, halfbeaks, and allies, comprise over 200 species occupying a wide array of habitats—from the marine epipelagic zone to tropical rainforest rivers. These fish also exhibit a variety of diets, including piscivory, herbivory, and … Continue reading

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Adaptive evolution of nearctic deepwater fish vision: implications for assessing functional variation for conservation

Intraspecific functional variation, the functional variation of a trait within a species, is critical for adaptation to rapidly changing environments. Ciscoes and Deepwater Sculpin are two lineages of North American deep-dwelling fish that recently, less than 15,000 years ago, began … Continue reading

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Convergent Evolution of Dim Light Vision in Owls and Deep-Diving Whales

Rhodopsin light activation produces all-trans retinal, a toxic byproduct. As a result, animals with enhanced dim light sensitivity are at higher risk of retinal degeneration when exposed to bright light conditions. Rod arrestin (Arr-1) binds to rhodopsin and promotes sequestration … Continue reading

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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 … Continue reading

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Whales Evolved Swiftly to Become Deep Divers

Awesome news article from the CSB department at UofT highlighting a recent PNAS paper from the Chang lab, featuring the work of former PhD student Sarah Dungan! Many cetacean species can dive to extraordinary depths on a single breath, but … Continue reading

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This Fish Has Adapted to Canada’s Deepest Coldest Lakes. UTSC Researchers are Unravelling it’s Genetics to Find Out How.

Great article from UTSC covering the incredible work Alex Van Nynatten, a postdoc in the Lovejoy lab, has been doing with the Deepwater Sculpin in collaboration with the Chang lab! This fish is quite impressive as they are known to … Continue reading

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Convergent patterns of evolution of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) genes in electric fishes

The ability to generate and detect electric fields is vital for the survival of several groups of fishes. Authors Ahmed A. Elbassiouny, Nathan R. Lovejoy and Belinda S.W. Chang speculated that electric fish may be able to meet the high … Continue reading

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Screening of Chemical Libraries Using a Yeast Model of Retinal Disease

Pathogenic mutations cause rhodopsin to misfold and disrupt its function. In this study, a yeast-based assay was used to screen for compounds that have the potential to rescue the function of mutant rhodopsin. It was confirmed that 9-cis retinal could … Continue reading

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