Novel heteromeric receptors in gut control: ghrelin receptors and dopamine receptors working together

Research Opportunity
PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Number of Master Places Available
1
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Linda Fothergill linda.fothergill@unimelb.edu.au
Co-supervisor Email Number Webpage
Prof John Furness j.furness@unimelb.edu.au
Dr Ruslan Pustovit

Summary The healthy gut communicates with the brain and lives in harmony with the many bacteria it contains. Disorders of gut health lead to diabetes and metabolic disease, inadequate nutrition, pain, nausea, poor digestion, liver disease, and digestive diseases. The digestive Physiology and Nutrition Laboratory is working to develop new approaches to treating bowel diseases through neuromodulation, an exciting new approach in which nerves are stimulated to treat disordered function, through drug development and by unravelling the basic mechanisms essential for digestive health. We are also working to understand the reasons why gastrointestinal functions become disordered when there are pathologies of the central nervous system, such as in Parkinson’s Disease.

Project Details

Ghrelin is a naturally occurring hormone that had been thought to be a transmitter in the central nervous system (CNS), and some years ago we discovered that ghrelin is a powerful CNS-acting stimulant of defecation in animal models and humans.  A striking conclusion from our discoveries is that the strong stimulation of defecation by ghrelin agonists is independent of ghrelin, which we discovered to be absent from the CNS.  Our data indicate that the physiological activation of the ghrelin receptor, GhrR, is through dopaminergic transmission acting at a combined GhrR / dopamine (DRD2) receptor, as summarised in the figure below.  In this project you will investigating how ghrelin and dopamine receptor agonists act and interact at this receptor complex in biophysical systems, isolated cells, native cells and whole animals.



Research Opportunities

PhD students, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


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