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The Cellular and Molecular Basis of Magnetoreception

Objective

Each year millions of animals undertake remarkable migratory journeys, across oceans and through hemispheres, guided by the Earth’s magnetic field. The cellular and molecular basis of this enigmatic sense, known as magnetoreception, remains an unsolved scientific mystery. One hypothesis that attempts to explain the basis of this sensory faculty is known as the magnetite theory of magnetoreception. It argues that magnetic information is transduced into a neuronal impulse by employing the iron oxide magnetite (Fe3O4). Current evidence indicates that pigeons employ a magnetoreceptor that is associated with the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve and the vestibular system, but the sensory cells remain undiscovered. The goal of this ambitious proposal is to discover the cells and molecules that mediate magnetoreception. This overall objective can be divided into three specific aims: (1) the identification of putative magnetoreceptive cells (PMCs); (2) the cellular characterisation of PMCs; and (3) the discovery and functional ablation of molecules specific to PMCs. In tackling these three aims this proposal adopts a reductionist mindset, employing and developing the latest imaging, subcellular, and molecular technologies.

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/inorganic chemistry/inorganic compounds

Call for proposal

ERC-2013-StG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-SG - ERC Starting Grant

Host institution

FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR MOLEKULARE PATHOLOGIE GESELLSCHAFT MBH
Address
Campus-vienna-biocenter 1
1030 Wien
Austria
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
EU contribution
€ 1 499 752
Principal investigator
David Anthony Keays (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Tanja Winkler (Ms.)

Beneficiaries (1)

FORSCHUNGSINSTITUT FUR MOLEKULARE PATHOLOGIE GESELLSCHAFT MBH
Austria
EU contribution
€ 1 499 752
Address
Campus-vienna-biocenter 1
1030 Wien
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Principal investigator
David Anthony Keays (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Tanja Winkler (Ms.)