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Aaron Cassill

InstitutionUniversity of Texas at San Antonio
Address1 UTSA Cir
San Antonio TX 78249
Phone(210) 458-5491
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    Dr. Cassill’s lab is interested in the mechanism of signal transduction in the Drosophila visual system. They are specifically pursuing two areas, that of attenuation of signal response and retinal degeneration caused by mutation of members of the signal pathway. There are two projects in the first area - the isolation of retina-specific serine/theonine protein kinases and characterization of a mutant line which appears to be defective in signal attenuation. The lab has synthesized two degenerate oligonucleotides which encode conserved domains in protein kinases and used these with PCR to amplify kinases from a library of Drosophila retinal cDNAs. Thus far, the lab has isolated 21 novel kinases and are characterizing these as well as screening for additional kinases. They are also characterizing a mutant Drosophila isolated from an enhancer trap screen which has a phenotype of responding with twice the normal level of activity to light pulses. They have isolated the genomic region containing the mutation and are characterizing the transcripts in this region to identify the affected gene.
    Mutations in the visual cascade can lead to retinal degeneration. The lab has screened 70,000 flies and isolated 14 mutants which undergo dominant retinal degeneration. Thirteen of these mutations are in the light receptor rhodopsin. Interestingly, four of these are the same as mutations occurring in human rhodopsin which cause the disease retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The last mutation does not map to any known members of the visual cascade and may represent a new member of the path. The lab is currently screening for additional mutants, creating mutations in Drosophila rhodopsin which correspond to other human RP mutations, and attempting to isolate the gene responsible for the degeneration in our non-rhodopsin mutant.

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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    1. Katti S, Lokhande N, González D, Cassill A, Renthal R. Quantitative analysis of pheromone-binding protein specificity. Insect Mol Biol. 2013 Feb; 22(1):31-40. PMID: 23121132.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    2. González D, Lokhande N, Vadde S, Zhao Q, Cassill A, Renthal R. Luminescence resonance energy transfer in the cytoplasm of live Escherichia coli cells. Biochemistry. 2011 Aug 16; 50(32):6789-96. PMID: 21739954.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Cells
    3. González D, Zhao Q, McMahan C, Velasquez D, Haskins WE, Sponsel V, Cassill A, Renthal R. The major antennal chemosensory protein of red imported fire ant workers. Insect Mol Biol. 2009 Jun; 18(3):395-404. PMID: 19523071.
      Citations: 33     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    4. Ahantarig A, Chadwell LV, Terrazas IB, Garcia CT, Nazarian JJ, Lee HK, Lundell MJ, Cassill JA. Molecular characterization of Pegarn: a Drosophila homolog of UNC-51 kinase. Mol Biol Rep. 2009 Jul; 36(6):1311-21. PMID: 18636236.
      Citations: 8     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    5. Guntur KV, Velasquez D, Chadwell L, Carroll C, Weintraub S, Cassill JA, Renthal R. Apolipophorin-III-like protein expressed in the antenna of the red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Arch Insect Biochem Physiol. 2004 Nov; 57(3):101-10. PMID: 15484261.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    6. Brunel CA, Madigan SJ, Cassill JA, Edeen PT, McKeown M. pcdr, a novel gene with sexually dimorphic expression in the pigment cells of the Drosophila eye. Dev Genes Evol. 1998 Aug; 208(6):327-35. PMID: 9716723.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    7. Colley NJ, Cassill JA, Baker EK, Zuker CS. Defective intracellular transport is the molecular basis of rhodopsin-dependent dominant retinal degeneration. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Mar 28; 92(7):3070-4. PMID: 7708777.
      Citations: 70     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    8. Penton A, Chen Y, Staehling-Hampton K, Wrana JL, Attisano L, Szidonya J, Cassill JA, Massagué J, Hoffmann FM. Identification of two bone morphogenetic protein type I receptors in Drosophila and evidence that Brk25D is a decapentaplegic receptor. Cell. 1994 Jul 29; 78(2):239-50. PMID: 8044838.
      Citations: 46     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    9. Cassill JA, Whitney M, Joazeiro CA, Becker A, Zuker CS. Isolation of Drosophila genes encoding G protein-coupled receptor kinases. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Dec 15; 88(24):11067-70. PMID: 1662381.
      Citations: 14     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    10. Schaufele F, Cassill JA, West BL, Reudelhuber T. Resolution by diagonal gel mobility shift assays of multisubunit complexes binding to a functionally important element of the rat growth hormone gene promoter. J Biol Chem. 1990 Aug 25; 265(24):14592-8. PMID: 2387870.
      Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
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