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 Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>