Gordon L. Fain

email:  gfain@ucla.edu

phone:  (310) 206-4281

office:  2121 TLSB

research interests:  Physiology of mammalian photoreceptors


B.A., Biology, Stanford University 1968
Ph.D., Biophysics, Johns Hopkins University 1973

Research Interests

A vertebrate photoreceptor uses a G-protein receptor (rhodopsin) and a G-protein cascade to produce the electrical response that signals a change in light intensity. Powerful new techniques have made it possible to understand the working of this cascade in extraordinary detail. The reason for this is that practically every protein involved in the cascade in a photoreceptor, from the pigment molecule rhodopsin to the G-protein and channels, but including also a large number of control proteins, are expressed only in the photoreceptors and nowhere else in the body. This makes it possible with genetic techniques to create mice in which these proteins have been knocked out, over or under expressed, or replaced with proteins of modified structure. We use electrical recording to study the effects of such genetic alterations on the light responses of mouse rods, in order to understand the role of these proteins in the visual cascade. We are especially interested in modulatory enzymes and their function in light and dark adaptation. We also have a long-standing interest in mechanisms of photoreceptor degeneration in genetically inherited disease. We are presently the only laboratory in the world making measurements of changes in Ca from mouse rods with fluorescent dyes, and our experiments have implicated both increases and decreases in Ca concentration as contributing factors in the triggering of apoptosis.

Selected Publications

Li, X., McClellan, M.E., Tanito, M., Garteiser, P., Towner, R., Bissig, D., Berkowitz, B.A., Fliesler, S.J., Woodruff, M.L., Fain, G.L., Birch, D.G., Khan, M.S., Ash, J.D. and Elliot, M.H., "Loss of caveolin-1 impairs retinal function due to disturbance of subretinal microenvironment", Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287 : 16424-16434 (2012) .

Nymark, S., Frederiksen, R., Woodruff, M.L., Cornwall, M.C. and Fain, G.L., "Bleaching of mouse rods: microspectrophotometry and suction-electrode recording", Journal of Physiology, 590 : 2353-2364 (2012) .

Tsang, S.H., Woodruff, M.L., Lin, C.S., Jacobson, B.D., Naumann, M.C., Hsu, C.W., Davis, R.J., Cilluffo, M.C., Chen, J. and Fain, G.L., "Effect of the ILE86TER mutation in the gamma subunit of cGMP phophodiesterase (PDE6) on rod photoreceptor signaling", Cellular Signalling, 24 : 181-188 (2012) .

Fain, G.L., "Adaption of mammalian photoreceptors to background light: putative role for direct modulation of phosphodiesterase", Molecular Neurobiology, 44 : 374-382 (2011) .

Chen, J., Woodruff, M.L., Wang, T., Concepcion, F., Tranchina, D. and Fain, G.L., "Channel modulation and the mechanism of light adaption in mouse rods", J. Neuroscience, 30 : 16232-16240 (2010) .

Chen, C.K., Woodruff, M.L., Chen, F.S., Shim, H., Cilluffo, M.C. and Fain, G.L., "Replacing the rod with the conde transducin alpha subunit decreases sensitivity and accelerates response decay", J Physiol, 588 : 3231-3241 (2010) .

Kevalov, V.J., Cornwall, M.C. and Fain, G.L., "Physiological studies of the interaction between opsin and chromophore in rod and cone visual pigments", In: Retinoids: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology vol. 652), Sun, H. and Travis, G.H.(Eds.), 95-114 (2010) .

Fain, G.L., Hardie, R. and Laughlin, S.B., "Phototransduction and the evolution of photoreceptors", Current Biology, 20 : R114-124 (2010) .

Chen, C.K., Woodruff, M.L., Chen, F.S., Chen, D. and Fain, G.L., "Background light produces a recoverin-independent modulation of activated-rhodopsin lifetime in mouse rods", J. Neuroscience, 30 : 1213-1220 (2010) .

Sampath, A.P. and Fain, G.L., "Setting the absolute threshold vision", F1000 Reports 2009, 1:66 : (2009) .