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Gary H. Laverty, Ph.D.
- BISC207, BISC208 - Introductory Biology I and II
- BISC 305* - Cell Physiology
- BISC 306* - General Physiology
- BISC 315 - Experimental Cell Biology
*Course web site available through MyCourses
Tetrahymena thermophila is a unicellular ciliated organism that lives in freshwater ponds and streams. A distant relative of the more familiar Paramecium species, Tetrahymena is smaller, but has served as an important eukaryotic model organism for many years. Tetrahymena can reproduce both asexually and sexually, with seven different mating types and separate germinal and somatic nuclei. The latter is involved in the normal transcriptional activity in vegetatively growing cells, while the germinal nucleus (micronucleus) becomes active in mating cells. The recent sequencing of the T. thermophila genome has generated renewed interest in the annotating and functional characterization of the estimated 25,000 protein-coding genes.
My laboratory is pursuing several different projects on Tetrahymena cell biology and physiology, using a combination of molecular and microscopic/behavioral approaches. Current projects include:
1. We are examing the role of a possible Tetrahymena homolog of TRPA1, an ion channel that, in mammals, is responsive to respiratory irritants, compounds from certain spicy foods (eg, mustard oil, wasabi) and to oxidative stress. TRPA1 is a member of the large TRP (transient receptor potential) family that includes the well-studied TRPV1, the "chile pepper (capsaicin) receptor", and which are also involved in many types of pain sensation. In Tetrahymena we hypothesize that TRPA1 functions as a sensor for reactive oxygen species (ROS).
2. The contractile vacuole is an organelle found in ciliates that is involved in osmoregulation. Under the microscope, the contractile vacuole can be seen to undergo cycles of filling with accumulated water and emptying via a process of exocytosis, We hypothesize that mechanosensitive channels are involved in regulating the timing of these cycles. We are also interested in characterizing the aquaporins or water channels that are presumed to be localized to the contractile vacuole and its associated accessory structures.
3. Tetrahymena are known to communicate and interact via purinergic signaling (ie, ATP acting as an extracellular signaling molecule). We are interested in characterizing the purinergic receptors and signal pathways that lead to behavioral responses under different kinds of environmental conditions.
Students working in this lab will learn basic microscopy, including fluorescence methods, PCR approaches to investigating gene expression and some basic bioinformatics. We also work on developing basic laboratory "bench" skills, on experimental design and critical reading of the relevant research literature.
Laverty G, Anttila A, Carty J, Reddy V, Yum J, Árnason SS. CFTR mediated chloride secretion in the avian renal proximal tubule. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2012; 161: 53-60.
Laverty G, Skadhauge E. Adaptation of teleosts to very high salinity. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2012; 163: 1-6.
Elbrønd VS, Laverty G, Dantzer V, Grøndahl C, Skadhauge E. Ultrastructure and electrolyte transport of the epithelium of coprodeum, colon and the proctodeal diverticulum of Rhea americana. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2009;152(3):357–365.
Holtug K, Laverty G, Dantzer V, Grøndahl C, Skadhauge E. NH4+ secretion in the avian colon. An actively regulated barrier to ammonium permeation of the colon mucosa. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2009;153(3):258–265.
Laverty G, Skadhauge E. Adaptive strategies for post-renal handling of urine in birds. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2008;149(3):246–254.
Grigorieva A, Griffiths GS, Zhang H, et al. Expression of SPAM1 (PH-20) in the murine kidney is not accompanied by hyaluronidase activity: evidence for potential roles in fluid and water reabsorption. Kidney Blood Press Res. 2007;30(3):145–155.
Johnston L, Laverty G. Vitamin C transport and SVCT1 transporter expression in chick renal proximal tubule cells in culture. Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol. 2007;146(3):327–334.
Laverty G., Elbrønd V.S., Árnason S.S., Skadhauge E. Epithelial structure and function in the hen lower intestine. In: Perry GC, ed. Avian Gut Function in Health and Disease. Wallingford, UK: CAB Int.; 2006:65–84.
Laverty G, Elbrond VS, Arnason SS, Skadhauge E. Endocrine regulation of ion transport in the avian lower intestine. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2006;147(1):70–77.
Laverty G, McWilliams C, Sheldon A, Arnason SS. PTH stimulates a Cl(-)-dependent and EIPA-sensitive current in chick proximal tubule cells in culture. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2003;284(5):F987–95.
Dudas PL, Villalobos AR, Gocek-Sutterlin G, Laverty G, Renfro JL. Regulation of transepithelial phosphate transport by PTH in chicken proximal tubule epithelium. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2002;282(1):R139–46.
Laverty G, Bjarnadottir S, Elbrond VS, Arnason SS. Aldosterone suppresses expression of an avian colonic sodium-glucose cotransporter. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2001;281(4):R1041–50.
Laverty G, Skadhauge E. Physiological roles and regulation of transport activities in the avian lower intestine. Journal Of Experimental Zoology. 1999;283(4-5):480–494.
Sutterlin GG, Laverty G. Characterization of a primary cell culture model of the avian renal proximal tubule. Am J Physiol. 1998;275(1 Pt 2):R220–6.
Laverty G. Transport characteristics of the colonic epithelium of the Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix). Comp Biochem Physiol A Physiol. 1997;118(2):261–263.
Sehested J, Diernaes L, Laverty G, Moller PD, Skadhauge E. Methodological and functional aspects of the isolated bovine rumen epithelium in ussing chamber flux studies. Acta Agric. Scand. Sect. A-Anim. Sci.. 1996;46(2):76–86.
Laverty G, Holtug K, Elbrond VS, Ridderstrale Y, Skadhauge E. Mucosal acidification and an acid microclimate in the hen colon in vitro. J Comp Physiol [B]. 1994;163(8):633–641.
Laverty G, Alberici M. Carbonic-Anhydrase Activity In Kidney And Lower Intestine Of The European Starling. Journal Of Morphology. 1991;207(3):273–281.
Laverty G, Alberici M. Micropuncture study of proximal tubule pH in avian kidney. Am J Physiol. 1987;253(4 Pt 2):R587–91.
Phone: (302) 831-8180
Fax: (302) 831-2281
Office: 244 Wolf Hall
Lab: 262 Wolf Hall
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Delaware
Newark, DE 19716
- B.S. - Lowell Technological Institute
- Ph.D. - University of Connecticut
- Postdoctoral - University of Arizona Health Sciences Center