Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

When it comes to sleep research, fruit flies and people make unlikely bedfellows

15.01.2009
New article published in the journal Genetics shows that one of only a few drug targets for sleep disorders proves fruitful

You may never hear fruit flies snore, but rest assured that when you're asleep they are too. According to research published in the January 2009 issue of the journal GENETICS (http://www.genetics.org), scientists from the University of Missouri-Kansas City have shown that the circadian rhythms (sleep/wake cycles) of fruit flies and vertebrates are regulated by some of the same "cellular machinery" as that of humans.

This study is significant because the sleep-regulating enzyme analyzed in this research is one of only a few possible drug targets for circadian problems that can lead to seasonal affective disorder (SAD), insomnia, and possibly some cancers.

"Modern society functions 24 hours a day and has produced more circadian problems than our ancestors ever faced," said Jeffrey Price, Ph.D., the senior scientist involved in the research. "I hope our work will allow us to better understand and alleviate these problems."

In addition to showing that this drug target has similar circadian functions in flies and humans, the study confirms that fruit flies are attractive and viable animal models for circadian research because their circadian "machinery" is remarkably similar to that in humans and they can be bred easily and rapidly. Moreover, this study provides compelling evidence that from an evolutionary point of view, circadian rhythms have been virtually unchanged since the days when humans and fruit flies shared a common ancestor.

Price and his colleagues made this discovery using a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches. For the biochemical approaches, normal and mutated versions of the fruit fly's sleep-regulating enzyme (DBT protein kinase) were expressed in insect cells and purified to determine how well each would work. The genetic approaches involved altering fruit flies to have the same sleep-altering gene mutations as vertebrates. The mutant proteins (either the fruit fly or vertebrate protein) were expressed in the fruit fly's circadian neurons and produced very similar effects on the fruit fly's circadian period.

"Every month our journal features articles that illustrate why creatures like fruit flies provide good models for studying human disease, and this article is an especially good example of that," said Mark Johnston, Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief of GENETICS. "These findings will help guide development of drugs that safely alter the sleep/wake cycle."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 25 percent of the U.S. population report not getting enough sleep on occasion, while almost 10 percent experience chronic insomnia. Insufficient sleep is associated with several diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. It also is responsible for accidents that cause substantial injury and disability each year.

Tracey DePellegrin Connelly | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.andrew.cmu.edu
http://www.genetics.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht 'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry
23.10.2017 | Rice 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: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>