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

Fain G, Sampath AP, "Rod and cone interactions in the retina", F1000Research, 7 : (2018) .

Morshedian A, Woodruff ML, Fain GL, "Role of recoverin in rod photoreceptor light adaptation", The Journal of physiology, 596 (8): 1513-1526 (2018) .

Morshedian A, Fain GL, "Light adaptation and the evolution of vertebrate photoreceptors", The Journal of physiology, 595 (14): 4947-4960 (2017) .

Morshedian A, Toomey MB, Pollock GE, Frederiksen R, Enright JM, McCormick SD, Cornwall MC, Fain GL, Corbo JC, "Cambrian origin of the CYP27C1-mediated vitamin A<sub>1</sub>-to-A<sub>2</sub> switch, a key mechanism of vertebrate sensory plasticity", Royal Society open science, 4 (7): 170362- (2017) .

Kaylor JJ, Xu T, Ingram NT, Tsan A, Hakobyan H, Fain GL, Travis GH, "Blue light regenerates functional visual pigments in mammals through a retinyl-phospholipid intermediate", Nature communications, 8 (1): 16- (2017) .

Morshedian A, Fain GL, "The evolution of rod photoreceptors", Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 372 (1717): (2017) .

Ingram NT, Sampath AP, Fain GL, "Why are rods more sensitive than cones?", The Journal of physiology, 594 (19): 5415-26 (2016) .

Marble SC, Prior SA, Runion GB, Torbert HA, Gilliam CH, Fain GB, Sibley JL, Knight PR, "Species and Media Effects on Soil Carbon Dynamics in the Landscape", Scientific reports, 6 : 25210- (2016) .

Fain GL, "Phototransduction: Making the Chromophore to See Through the Murk", Current biology : CB, 25 (23): R1126-7 (2015) .

Reingruber J, Holcman D, Fain GL, "How rods respond to single photons: Key adaptations of a G-protein cascade that enable vision at the physical limit of perception", BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 37 (11): 1243-52 (2015) .