Department of Molecular Physiology
We are interested in calcium-gated chloride channels because they play a major role in signal transduction in olfactory signal transduction, our main field of research. To study these channels in intact olfactory sensory neurons, we have to combine three techniques (upper left): (1) rapid release of calcium by photolysis of caged calcium; (2) monitoring the intracellular calcium concentration by the fluorescence emission of a calcium-sensitive dye; (3) recording of calcium-dependent chloride current. Both the current signal and the fluorescence signal can be calibrated. This makes it possible to determine the calcium sensitivity of the channel in intact olfactory neurons (upper right). For these experiments, the set up has to be equipped with a flash lamp for the photorelease of calcium, a lamp and filter wheel for fluorescence excitation, as well as with a photon counter and positioning tool (video camera and pinhole) to record single-cell fluorescence (bottom).