Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Dartmouth researchers identify multi-tasking circadian protein


Dartmouth Medical School geneticists have found a molecular shortcut from light reception to gene activation in their work to understand biological clocks. Their research has revealed that the protein called White Collar-1 does double duty: it perceives light and then, in response to light, directly turns on a key gene called frequency, which is a central component of the clock.

Biological clocks are molecularly driven and are set, or synchronized, by the daily cycles of light and dark. Using the fungus Neurospora, the Dartmouth team is studying how organisms keep track of time using this internal clock.

"What we have discovered is that a protein called White Collar-1 is both the photoreceptor and the mechanism that turns on the frequency gene, all in one molecule,” explains Allan Froehlich, the lead author. “It’s the combination of the two activities that is so interesting.”

The findings, by Professors Jay Dunlap and Jennifer Loros, graduate student Allan Froehlich, and post-doctoral fellow Yi Liu, now on the faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was published in the Aug. 2 issue of Science; the study was reported online in the July 4, 2002, issue of Sciencexpress. The Dunlap and Loros laboratories have made numerous contributions to understanding the genetic foundation for biological clocks.

Researchers, working with a variety of organisms, have already begun to understand how photoreceptor proteins perceive light at the molecular level and then pass on this information through a complex series of proteins. However, this finding with the White Collar-1 protein reveals a relatively simple process between a light-perceiving protein and turning on a gene.

“Virtually nothing is known about how pathogenic fungi respond to light or whether our discovery can be exploited for a noninvasive medical therapy,” Dunlap says. “But, if you want to do therapy—antifungal, antibacterial or anything—you start looking for biochemical activities that the host does not have that can be targeted to the pathogen.”

Froehlich, working with Dunlap and Loros, built on their discovery that the gene frequency encodes a central cog of the biological clock and that light resets the clock through frequency. He then determined that the clock proteins White Collar-1 and White Collar-2 bind to the specific parts of frequency that turn on frequency in response to light. And finally, he showed that under appropriate biochemical conditions WC-1 was the actual photoreceptor protein.

“The next step is to continue to understand how the proteins work,” says Froehlich. “There are many more unidentified proteins that may be influencing biological clocks, which provides us with lots more to discover.”

Sue Knapp | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>