Senatore, Adriano

Assistant ProfessorBiology

Contact Information

(905) 569-4322
Mailing Address: 
3359 Mississauga Road
Postal Code: 
L5L 1C6
 Adriano Senatore

Research | Lab Positions | Selected Publications


Trichoplax dividing asexually via binary fissionWe seek to better understand the molecular underpinnings of synaptic evolution and diversity. To achieve this, we compare what is known about synaptic physiology and structure in mammalian and invertebrate model organisms, with two of the most early-diverging animals: 1) Placozoan Trichoplax adhaerens, a simple marine organism that exhibits motile behaviors including feeding, chemotaxis and phototaxis, yet lacks neurons, muscle and synapses; and 2) the comb jelly Mnemiopsis leidyi, from the most basal animal phylum Ctenophora, which appears to have independently-evolved synapses (Figure 1A to C).

We focus on i) voltage-gated calcium (Cav) channels, which in humans and invertebrates play crucial roles in synaptic transmission, and on ii) synaptic protein complexing mediated by scaffolding proteins, which play dynamic roles in synapse formation and homeostasis. My team and I are initiating comparative structure-function and physiology studies of Cav channels, comparing human and other invertebrate channels with highly divergent orthologues/homologues from Trichoplax and Mnemiopsis (Figure 1D to F). Here, objectives are to gain evolutionary insights into the biophysical and pharmacological features of each Cav channel type, and to determine whether the roles that Cav channels play in Trichoplax and Mnemiopsis resemble known synaptic functions of Cav channels in other well-studied organisms. We are also applying high-throughput proteomics to evaluate if key protein-protein interactions that underlie synaptic scaffolding, including the association of Cav channels with pre-synaptic exocytotic machinery, are absent/present in Trichoplax, in accordance with its lack of synapses, and to define the molecular architecture of the seemingly independently-evolved (and poorly understood) Mnemiopsis synapse.

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Lab Positions

We are currently recruiting PhD and MSc students with May or September 2016 start dates. Please send CV and contact information for 2 academic references to

Selected Publications

  • Derby, C. D., Kozma, M. T., Senatore, A., Schmidt, M. (2015) Molecular Mechanisms of Reception and Perireception in Crustacean Chemoreception: A Comparative Review. In Review in Chemical Senses (ID no. CS-15-138)
  • Senatore, A., Boykin, J., Ganupuru, P., Tamvacakis, A. N., and Katz, P. S. (2015) Ultra high level mRNA expression of orthologous secretome genes is a conserved feature of the sea slug brain. In preparation.
  • Tamvacakis, A. N., Senatore, A., and Katz, P. S. (2015) Identification of genes related to learning and memory in the brain transcriptome of the mollusc, Hermissenda crassicornis. Learning and Memory, In Press.
  • Senatore, A., Edirisinghe, N., and Katz, P. (2015) Deep mRNA Sequencing of the Tritonia diomedea Brain Transcriptome Provides Access to Gene Homologues for Neuronal Excitability, Synaptic Transmission and Peptidergic Signalling. PLoS ONE, 10(2): e0118321.
  • Senatore, A., and Spafford, J.D. (2015) Molecular physiology and pathology of voltage-gated T-Type calcium channels. (Chapter in: T-type calcium channels in basic and clinical science (Springer): pages 3-17).
  • Senatore, A., Boone, A.N., Monteil, A., Chemin, J., and Spafford, J.D. (2014) Gd3+ and Calcium Sensitive, Sodium Leak Currents Are Features of Weak Membrane-Glass Seals in Patch Clamp Recordings. PLoS ONE 9(6):e98808.
  • Senatore, A., Guan, W., Boone, A. N., Spafford, J. D. (2014) T-type channels become highly permeable to sodium ions using an alternative extracellular turret region (S5-P) outside the selectivity filter. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 289(17):11952-69. Highlighted among the top 2% of papers in JBC with respect to “significance and overall importance”.
  • Senatore, A., Guan, W., and Spafford, J.D. (2014) Cav3 T-type channels: Regulators for gating, membrane expression and cation selectivity. Pfluger Archives – European Journal of Physiology (466):645-660.
  • Senatore, A., Monteil, A., van Minnen, J., Smit, A. B., Spafford, J. D. (2013) NALCN ion channels have alternative selectivity filters resembling calcium channels or sodium channels. PLoS ONE 8(1):e55088.
  • Senatore, A., Spafford, J. D. (2013) A uniquely adaptable pore is consistent with NALCN being an ion sensor. Channels Austin 7(2):60-8.
  • Senatore, A., Spafford, J. D. (2012) Gene Transcription and Splicing of T-Type Channels are Evolutionarily-Conserved Strategies for Regulating Channel Expression and Gating. PLoS ONE 7(6):e37409.
  • Trobacher, C.P., Senatore, A., Holley, C., Greenwood, J.S. (2012) Induction of a ricinosomal-protease and programmed cell death in tomato endosperm by gibberellic acid. Planta 237(3):665-79.
  • Senatore, A., Zhorov, B., Spafford, J. D. (2012) Cav3 T-type Calcium Channels. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Membrane Transport and Signaling 1:467-491. doi: 10.1002/wmts.41.
  • Senatore, A., Boone, A. N., Lam, S., Dawson, T. F.., Zhorov, B. S., Spafford, J. D. (2011) Mapping of dihydropyridine (isradipine) binding residues in a less sensitive invertebrate L-type calcium channel (LCav1). Channels Austin 5(2):173-187.
  • Senatore, A., Boone, A. N., Spafford, J. D. (2011) Optimized Transfection Strategy for Expression and Electrophysiological Recording of Recombinant Voltage-Gated Ion Channels in HEK-293T Cells. The Journal of Visualized experimentation 19(47):2314.
  • Senatore, A., Spafford, J. D. (2010) Transient and big are key features of an invertebrate T-type channel (LCav3) from the central nervous system of Lymnaea stagnalis. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 285(10):7447-7458.
  • Huang, X., Senatore, A., Dawson, T. F., Quan, Q., Spafford, J. D. (2010) G proteins modulate invertebrate synaptic calcium channel (LCav2) differently from the classical voltage-dependent regulation of mammalian Cav2.1 and Cav2.2 channels. The Journal of Experimental Biology 213(12):2094-103.
  • Senatore, A., Trobacher, C. P., Greenwood, J. S. (2009) Ricinosomes predict programmed cell death leading to anther dehiscence in tomato. Plant Physiology 149(2):775-790.
  • Zhang, Y., Helm, J. S., Senatore, A., Spafford, J. D., Kaczmarek, L. K., Jonas, E. A. (2008) PKC- induced intracellular trafficking of Cav2 precedes its rapid recruitment to the plasma membrane. The Journal of Neuroscience (10):2601-2612.

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