The action potential of Paramecium is calcium dependent and is elicited by the flow of calcium though voltage dependent calcium channels. In addition to causing the action potential in Paramecium, it is also responsible for such processes as exocytosis and the stereotyped backward swimming behavior. In this paper 12 putative voltage dependent calcium genes were identified though Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST ) analysis using the Homo sapiens voltage dependent calcium channel genes against the Paramecium genome database. In addition the bioinformatic analysis of two of the putative genes showed possible sodium channel activity, which could have implications of the evolutionary story of sodium channel. The putative genes were analyzed though a variety of bioinformatic measures including phylogenic analysis, BLAST analysis of conserved domains and GO term identification. In addition to the bioinformatic analysis, two of the putative genes were functionally tested using RNA mediated interference (RNAi). The results show that RNAi of a putative gene resulted in decreased backward swimming behavior, and gives evidence that this gene could be a voltage dependent calcium channel.


Fraga, Dean




Neuroscience and Neurobiology


ion channel evolution, ion channel evoution, paramecium

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2013 Stephen Ryan