About Dr Dario Protti

My interest is to understand the cellular and synaptic mechanisms that underlie neuronal communication in the retina. A thorough understanding of the first stages of vision is vital for understanding vision at the perceptual and behavioural level.

Dr Dario Protti is an expert on the cellular and synaptic mechanisms that underlie signal transmission in the retina.

Dr Protti was trained at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he obtained his PhD. In those studies, Dr Protti was the first to identify the voltage gated calcium channels that are responsible for transmitter release at the adult mammalian neuromuscular junction as P-type calcium channels. These calcium channels are very important for motor activity and in humans are affected by autoimmune diseases such as Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome. Dr Protti first carried out his postdoctoral research studies first at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany, where he characterized, using patch-clamp techniques, the biophysical and pharmacological properties of membrane receptors to inhibitory neurotransmitters in retinal ganglion cells and the properties of calcium channels in bipolar cells. In further studies at the Max-Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, he investigated the physiological role that inhibitory neurotransmitters and calcium channels play in signal transmission in retinal networks and in physiological phenomena, such as lateral inhibition. In 2003 Dr Protti moved to Australia to take up a lectureship in the Department of Physiology, University of Sydney, where he continues to investigate the mechanisms by which different neurotransmitters and receptors shape retinal signals that are sent to the rest of the brain. Dr Protti’s lab is also investigating the physiological changes that take place in retinal synaptic circuits after inducing a form of plasticity by dark-rearing animals and the effects of visual deprivation on visual acuity. Dr Protti has collaborations with national and international laboratories. He has supervised Honours and PhD students. Dr Protti is a regular reviewer of grant proposals for national and overseas funding bodies. He has also been involved in the organization of several symposia at national and international conferences.

Selected publications

  • Dumitrescu O., Protti, D.A., Majumdar S., Zeilhofer H.U. and Wässle H. (2006) Ionotropic glutamate receptors of amacrine cells of the mouse retina. Visual Neuroscience 23(1): 79-90. Times cited: 2. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 1.612) PubMed ID: 18041773
  • Protti, D.A., Flores-Herr, N., Li, W., Massey, S. and Wässle, H. (2005) Light signalling in scotopic conditions in the rabbit, mouse and rat retina: a pharmacological study. Journal of Neurophysiology 93, 3479-3488. Times cited: 12. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 3.684) PubMed ID: 15601738
  • Habermann, C, O'Brien, B., Wässle, H. and Protti, D.A. (2003) AII amacrine cells express L-type calcium channels at their output synapses Journal of Neuroscience 23, 6904 6913. Times cited: 16. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 7.490) PubMed ID: 12890785
  • Flores-Herr, N., Protti, D.A. and Wässle, H. (2001). Synaptic currents generating the inhibitory surround of ganglion cells in the mammalian retina. Journal of Neuroscience 21, 4852 4863. Times cited: 52. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 7.490) PubMed ID: 11425912
  • Protti, D.A., Flores-Herr, N., and von Gersdorff, H (2000). Light evokes calcium spikes in the axon terminal of a retinal bipolar cell. Neuron, 25, 215–227. Times cited: 35. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 13.410) PubMed ID: 10707985
  • Protti, D.A. and Llano, I. (1998). Calcium currents and calcium signaling in rod bipolar cells of rat retinal slices. Journal of Neuroscience 18, 3715-3724. Times cited: 51. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 7.490) PubMed ID: 9570802
  • Protti, D.A., Gerschenfeld, H.M., and Llano, I. (1997). GABAergic and glycinergic IPSCs in ganglion cells of rat retinal slices. Journal of Neuroscience 17, 6075-6085. Times cited: 53. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 7.490) PubMed ID: 9236219
  • Protti, D.A., Reisin, R., Mackinley, T.A., and Uchitel, O.D. (1996). Calcium channel blockers and transmitter release at the normal human neuromuscular junction. Neurology 46, 1391-1396. Times cited: 55. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 6.014) PubMed ID: 8628488
  • Protti, D.A. and Uchitel, O.D. (1993). Transmitter release and presynaptic Ca2+ currents blocked by the spider toxin omega-Aga-IVA. Neuroreport 5, 333-336. Times cited: 87. PubMed ID: 7905295
  • Uchitel, O.D., Protti, D.A., Sanchez, V., Cherksey, B.D., Sugimori, and Llinas, R. (1992). P-type voltage-dependent calcium channel mediates presynaptic calcium influx and transmitter release in mammalian synapses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 89, 3330-3333. Times cited: 267. (ISI JCR 2006 impact factor 9.598) PubMed ID: 1348859