The researchers show that, in the fruit fly, the expression of many genes is modified by exposure to alcohol, and that mutations in some of these genes affect the flies’ sensitivity to alcohol. Many of the genes analysed are also found in humans and the authors of the study conclude that studies in the fruit fly Drosophila could shed light on the genetic basis of human response to alcohol, including the susceptibility to alcohol abuse.
Tatiana Morozova, Robert Anholt and Trudy Mackay, from North Carolina State Univeristy, USA, analysed the activity of all Drosophila genes after exposure to alcohol. Using microarray analysis, a technique that enables to measure gene expression levels, they compared the gene expression levels in flies before they were exposed to ethanol, directly after exposure and two hours after exposure.
The results of Morozova et al.’s study show that one single exposure to ethanol is enough to modify the expression of some genes in the fruit fly. Morozova et al. identified a total of 582 genes whose expression is modified by exposure to ethanol. Some of these genes are down-regulated, while others are up-regulated, and a different set of genes is up-regulated as the flies become more tolerant to alcohol. Such genes include genes involved in biosynthesis and the regulation of fatty acid metabolism. “Alcohol-induced fatty acid biosynthesis is well documented in [human] heavy drinkers”, write the authors. “The identification of multiple enzymes associated with intermediary metabolism and fatty acid biosynthesis in the response to alcohol exposure in Drosophila is, therefore, of particular interest.”
Morozova et al. then identified genes that affect sensitivity or tolerance to alcohol, by analysing flies with mutated versions of the genes identified in the microarray experiment. They find that mutations in these genes can induce increased or reduced sensitivity to the effects of ethanol at first exposure, followed by increased or reduced tolerance. Morozova et al. find that the development of tolerance is only partly dependent on initial sensitivity to ethanol.
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy