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Houston, Texas

CMB research is conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in the Texas Medical Center, Houston.
Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program
not shown on screen

Theodore G. Wensel, Ph.D.

Professor, Departments of Biochemistry and Ophthalmology
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of California, Davis
Postdoctoral, Stanford University

Research Interests:

G protein-coupled receptors are the most common receptors in our bodies. They serve as the primary sensors for vision, smell, taste, hormone responses, slow neurotransmission, and most drugs. We study the molecular mechanisms for regulating these pathways in the retina and the brain, with a focus on the proteins responsible. Students in the laboratory have discovered and characterized a number of new proteins important for G protein regulation, including RGS proteins and associated proteins, which control the amplitude and timing of responses. We also study ways to manipulate gene structure and function in terminally differentiated neurons as an approach to autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorders such as retinitis pigmentosa. Students learn and use a wide array of techniques, ranging from membrane biochemistry, to genetic manipulation of animals, to electron and X-ray crystallography and time-resolved fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy.

G protein cascade of vision and Ca2+ feedback

Selected Publications:

Hu, G, Zhang, Z., Wensel, T. G. 2003. Activation of RGS9-1 GTPase acceleration by its membrane anchor, R9AP. J. Biol. Chem. 278:14550-14554.

Burns, M.E., Wensel, T.G. 2003. From Molecules to Behavior: New Clues for RGS Function in the Striatum. Neuron, 38:853–856.

For more publications, see listing on PubMed.

Contact Information:

Theodore G. Wensel, Ph.D.
(713) 798-6994
Fax: (713) 796-9438
Lab home page:

Updated: 7/07

Gross, A. K., Decker, G., Chan, F., Sandoval, I. M., Wilson, J. H., Wensel, T. G. (2006) Defective development of photoreceptor membranes in a mouse model of recessive retinitis pigmentosa. Vision Res. 46:4510-4518.

Krispel, C.M., Chen, D., Chen, Y-J, Martemyanov, K. A., Quillinan, N., Arshavsky, V. Y., Wensel, T. G. Chen, C-K. Burns, M. E. (2006) RGS expression sets the duration of signaling in rod photoreceptors. Neuron 51:409-16.

Zhang, X. Wensel, T.G. Yuan, C. (2006) Tokay Gecko photoreceptors achieve rod-like physiology with cone-like proteins. Photochem. Photobiol. 46:4510-4518.

He, F., Mao, M., Wensel, T.G. 2004. Phosphoinositide stimulation of effector-G protein interactions in the transducin-PDE6 cascade of photoreceptors. J. Biol. Chem. 279:8986-90.

Zhixian Zhang, Z., Melia, T. J., He, F., Yuan, C., McGough, A., Schmid, M. F., Wensel, T.G., 2004. How a G-protein binds a membrane. J. Biol. Chem. 279:33937-33945

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