Paramecium tetraurelia is an excellent model organism for the study of excitable membranes due to its many ion channels. Electrophysiological experiments have lead to the identification of multiple putative currents in Paramecium tetraurelia. The genes that encode the channels that produce these currents have been bioinformatically identified with the exception of the calcium-dependent sodium channel. Four candidate genes from the Paramecium genome were identified based on sodium selectivity and calcium sensing features. Two of the genes were cloned and can be used for future work in RNAi induced backwards swimming assays. Bioinformatics analyses of the four genes indicated that two are unspecified cation channel fragments and two are potential calcium channels. It is hypothesized that the calcium-dependent sodium channel does not contain conventional sodium selective or calcium gating motifs, making the gene harder to locate requiring a more exhaustive bioinformatics approach.


Fraga, Dean


Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Neuroscience


Biochemistry | Bioinformatics | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Molecular Biology

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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