Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Circadian surprise: A heat sensor for body-clock synchronization

02.11.2009
New research on the fruit-fly brain points to a possible mechanism by which temperature influences the body clock, according to scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.

Although much is known about how light affects the body clock - also known at the circadian clock - it is not well understood which cells or organs sense daily temperature changes or how temperature signals reach the part of the brain that contains the circadian clock.

A variety of organisms, including insects and humans, have evolved an internal circadian clock to regulate patterns of behaviour throughout the day - for example sleep, appetite, alertness and concentration.

Senior study author Dr Ralf Stanewsky, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, explains: "Given the substantial similarity between the fly and mammalian clock, our studies might also help to understand the human circadian clock and in the future perhaps contribute to developing treatments against the negative effects of sleep-disorders and shift-work."

Specially evolved "clock cells" in the brain contain the circadian clock, which needs to be synchronised with the natural environmental cycles every day to prevent them running too fast or too slow.

Dr Stanewsky and colleagues have shown that fly brains were unable to synchronize to temperature cycles when separated from the rest of the body. This is in contrast with the ability to synchronize to light-dark cycles, which can take place with or without a connection to the fly body.

This study, reported today in the journal Neuron, identified a gene called nocte that, when altered, interferes with the fly's ability to synchronize its body clock using temperature signals. Importantly, disabling the nocte gene in nerve cells in the body also prevented the brain's ability to synchronize with temperature.

Dr Stanewsky's group wants to continue their studies on the fruit fly Drosophila and ultimately learn how the fly ensures perfect synchronisation of the circadian clock with the environment.

For more information, contact:

Simon Levey
Communications Officer
Queen Mary, University of London
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7882 5404 or +44 (0) 7740 346 737 (out of hours)
email: s.levey@qmul.ac.uk

Simon Levey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.qmul.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>