Principal Investigator

Donggen Luo
Sensation and Behavior, Sensory Transduction and Coding, Circadian Rhythm/Sleep, Neural Circuit, Chemoreception, Vision, Drosophila

phone: 62760611



Research Interests:

My laboratory is interested in the neural mechanisms underlying animal sensation and behavior. We study: 1) the molecular mechanisms of converting physical/chemical cues into neuronal responses, 2) the principles of sensory coding and processing, and 3) the circuits of rhythmic behaviors such as circadian clock, sleep/wake, and feeding.

We use a genetically-malleable species, Drosophila, wherein we can label and manipulate specific neurons, to understand sensation and behavior from molecules to circuits to behaviors. The genetic approach is accompanied by a state-of-the-art integrated investigation involving optogenetic/chemogenetic manipulation, circuit tracing, two-photon-based calcium imaging, behavioral test and in vivo multi-electrode patch-clamp recordings.


Selected Publications:

  1. Xiao N, Xu S, Li ZK, Tang M, Mao R, Yang T, Ma SX, Wang PH, Li MT, Sunikumar A, Rouyer F, Cao LH, and Luo DG (2023) A single photoreceptor splits perception and entrainment by cotransmission. Nature (in press).
  2. Tang M, Cao LH, Yang T, Ma SX, Jing BY, Xiao N, Xu S, Leng KR, Yang D, Li MT, and Luo DG (2022) An extra-clock ultradian brain oscillator sustains circadian timekeeping. Science Advances 8. Eabo5506.
  3. Luo DG, Silverman D, Frederiksen R, Adhikari R, Cao LH, Oatis JE, Kono M, Cornwall MC, and Yau KW. (2020) Apo-opsin and its dark constitutive activity across retinal cone subtypes. Current Biology 30, 4921-4931.
  4. Zhou Y, Cao LH, Sui XW, Guo XQ, and Luo DG (2019) Mechanosensory circuits coordinate two opposing motor actions in Drosophila feeding. Science Advances 5. Eaaw5141.
  5. Li MT, Cao LH, Xiao N, Tang M, Deng BW, Yoshii T, Yang T, and Luo DG (2018) Hub-organized parallel circuits of central circadian pacemakers for visual photoentrainment. Nature Communications 9: 4247.
  6. Cao LH, Yang D, Wu W, Zeng XK, Jing BY, Li MT, Qin SS, Tang C, Tu YH, and Luo DG (2017) Odorant-induced inhibition of olfactory sensory neurons drives olfactory perception in Drosophila. Nature Communications 8:1357.
  7. Yue WW, Frederiksen R, Ren X, Luo DG, et al. (2017) Spontaneous activation of visual pigments in relation to openness/closedness of chromophore-binding pocket. Elife e18492.
  8. Cao LH, Jing BY, Yang D, Zeng X, Shen Y, Tu Y, and Luo DG (2016) Distinct signaling of Drosophila chemoreceptors in olfactory sensory neurons. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113, E902-E911. 
  9. Cao LH, Luo DG, and Yau KW (2014) Light responses of primate and other mammalian cones. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 111, 2752-2757. 
  10. Luo DG*, Yue WWS, Ala-Laurila P and Yau KW* (2011) Activation of visual pigments by light and heat. Science 332, 1037-1312. (*Co-corresponding Authors)
  11. Fu Y*, Vladimir K*, Luo DG*, Xue T* and Yau KW (2008) Quantal noise from human red cone pigment. Nature Neuroscience 11, 565-571. (* Equal Contributions).
  12. Luo DG, Xue T and Yau KW (2008) How vision begins: an odyssey. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 105, 9855-9862.
  13. Su CY, Luo DG, Terakita A, Shichida Y, Liao HW, Kazmi MA, Sakmar TP and Yau KW (2006) Parietal-eye phototransduction components and their potential evolutionary implications. Science 311, 11617-11621.
  14. Luo DG and Yau KW (2005) Rod sensitivity of neonatal mouse and rat. J. Gen. Physiol. 126, 263-269.
  15. Fu YB, Zhong HN, Wang MH, Luo DG, Liao HW, Maeda H, Hattar S, Frishman LJ and Yau KW  (2005) Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells detect light with a Vitamin A-based photopigment, melanopsin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102, 10339-10344.
  16. Luo DG and Yang XL (2002) Suppression by zinc of transient OFF responses of carp amacrine cells to red light is mediated by GABAA receptors. Brain Research 958, 222-226.
  17. Luo DG, Li GL and Yang XL (2002) Zn2+ modulates light responses of color-opponent bipolar and amacrine cells in the carp retina. Brain Res. Bull. 58, 461-468.
  18. Luo DG and Yang XL (2001) Zn2+ differentially modulates signals from red- and short wavelength-sensitive cones to horizontal cells in carp retina. Brain Research 900, 95-102.
  19. Xu HP, Luo DG and Yang XL (2001) Signals from cone photoreceptors to L-type horizontal cells are differentially modulated by low calcium in carp retina. Eur. J. Neurosci. 13, 1411-1419.


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