Two key groups of neurons control morning and evening activity
A Brandeis University study published this week in Nature shows for the first time that a molecular signal maintains coherence among brain clock cells that regulate daily activity of Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies). The two key groups of neurons control morning and evening activity and are maintained in synch even when the flies are plunged into darkness for extended periods of time.
This daily resetting signal flows from the morning to the evening cells and maintains a 12-hour difference between the timing of morning and evening activity, without the need for any environmental cues. The Brandeis researchers came to this conclusion by speeding up only the morning cell clock or only the evening cell clock. The results showed clearly that these two clocks always remained coupled in a network that was governed by the morning cell signal.
Laura Gardner | EurekAlert!
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