Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UT Southwestern scientist helps identify neurons in worms that control link between stress, eating

31.10.2002


Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the University of California, San Francisco have shown that feeding behavior in worms is controlled by neurons that detect adverse or stressful conditions.



The findings are published in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature.

The discovery of the gene that controls social feeding behavior in worms was made in 1998 by researchers at UCSF. The new findings build on the earlier research by identifying the nociceptive neurons – neurons that transmit pain signals - triggering group feeding.


"The gene that controls this behavior in worms is like the one that controls feeding in humans," said Dr. Leon Avery, associate professor of molecular biology at UT Southwestern and an author of the study. "The epidemic of obesity in America makes [the findings on neurons] potentially relevant to health."

Scientists have long known that soil worms, called Caenorhabditis elegans, have varying eating habits. The species of the worm commonly used in research labs tends to feed alone. In the wild, however, most of the C. elegans feed in groups.

"It’s like they’re having a party," Avery said. "Other worms pay no attention to each other when there’s food."

In higher species, factors like season, availability of food and natural enemies can regulate aggregation behavior, which in turn can affect biodiversity as well as community structure and dynamics. Although social scientists have made strides in understanding the significance group behaviors have had on ecological and evolutionary processes, little research has been done on the basic neural mechanisms underlying this behavior.

Avery and other researchers were able to show that whether the worms ate alone or in groups was dictated by the existence of the ADL and ASH nociceptive neurons. Worms without ASH and ADL eat alone.

C. elegans are studied because they have a genetic makeup similar to humans. Because their systems are very small (about 950 cells make up an entire worm), genes are easier to track and study. About 1 millimeter long, the worms grow, reproduce and age much like humans. Researchers who identified key genes in C. elegans involved in organ development and programmed cell death were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine earlier this month.

Avery said the Nature study is the culmination of a decade-long research project. Some of the initial work was performed in 1990 by Dr. M. Wayne Davis, another of the study’s authors, when he was a summer undergraduate research fellow at UT Southwestern under the tutelage of Avery. Davis is currently a researcher at the University of Utah.


###
The work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Medical Research Council of Great Britain.

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, go to http://www3.utsouthwestern.edu/ and click on "Latest News." Then click on "Receive Our News" in the left navigation and follow the instructions.


Steve O’Brien | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www3.utsouthwestern.edu/
http://www.swmed.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | 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

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>