Dr. Alex Jones and colleagues from FLS shed light on signal transduction in animal magnetoreception
The blue light photoreceptor protein, cryptochrome, is thought to provide animals with geomagnetic information via a quantum mechanical effect in a light-initiated radical pair reaction.
However, very little is known of a possible signal transduction mechanism. In a paper recently published in Scientific Reports (DOI: 10.1038/srep05799), Alex and colleagues demonstrated a cryptochrome and light dependent magnetic field effect on seizure duration in Drosophila larvae. The observations are consistent with altered levels of neuronal excitation under magnetic field exposure, which is considered a pre-requisite for a magnetic effect in a primary receptor to result in an organism response.