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Many species of organisms can sense and orient to the earth’s magnetic field. While the existence of this magnetic sense is widely accepted, little is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms of magnetoreception. One favored mechanism involves magnetic particles that are capable of exerting force on adjacent mechanoreceptors when pulled by the force of the earth’s magnetic field. Evidence of magnetic particles has been reported in magnetotactic animals including C. elegans. We have previously discovered that AFD neurons play an important role in C. elegans magnetotactic behavior. However, it remains poorly understood how AFD neurons detect magnetic fields. Preliminary data from our lab have shown that some iron-handling proteins are required for normal magnetic orientation. We will be investigating the pattern of expression of these iron-handling proteins in C. elegans and if they are expressed near the AFD and AMsh. The results from this study could open a new research direction to the better understanding of mechanisms of in animals.
Awe, 'Tope, "Cellular Localization Of Iron-Handling Proteins Required For Magnetic Orientation In C. Elegans" (2021). Biology. 22.