Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Discover a Mechanism to Explain Biological “Cross-Talk” Between 24-Hour Body Cycles and Metabolism

Research Points to New Pathways for Fighting Diabetes

It’s well known that the body’s energy levels cycle on a 24-hour, or circadian, schedule, and that this metabolic process is fueled by oxygen. Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that a protein called Rev-erb coordinates the daily cycles of oxygen-carrying heme molecules to maintain the body’s correct metabolism.

The research appears online this week in Science Express in advance of print publication in Science.

Many studies, including this one, point to a link between the human internal clock and such metabolic disorders as obesity and diabetes. Proteins such as Rev-erb are the gears of the clock and understanding their role is important for fighting these diseases.

“This is the next chapter on Rev-erb, a member of a family of cell-nucleus proteins that includes receptors for anti-diabetic drugs,” explains senior author Mitchell A. Lazar, MD, PhD, Director of the Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism at Penn. About two years ago Lazar’s group discovered that Rev-erb was a critical component of the circadian clock. In this paper, they found that the activity of Rev-erb is controlled by heme.

Heme represents the body's most important way of transporting and using oxygen, which would simply bubble away in the body without being bound to heme. “In a molecular baton hand-off, oxygen is transferred from heme in the bloodstream to the heme molecules found inside a cell,” says Lazar, of how oxygen reaches cells to run their metabolic needs. One of the most important roles of heme inside cells is to facilitate the use of oxygen to generate energy in the process known as cellular respiration.

The findings further tie together the 24-hour cycle of the body with metabolic function. “Circadian rhythms are our sleep-wake cycle and metabolism is how we process food, so it makes sense that there would be biological cross-talk between the body’s 24-hour rhythm and metabolic function,” says Lazar. Indeed, scientists already recognize that getting too much or too little sleep increases the risk of diabetes. The newly discovered circadian/metabolic link could be the focus of a new generation of diabetes treatments.

The Penn group worked with scientists at GlaxoSmithKline, who demonstrated that the Rev-erb protein can physically bind to heme in the test tube. The Penn scientists then found that heme, by regulating the activity of Rev-erb, reduces the amount of glucose produced by liver cells.

“What’s exciting about this is that it puts heme in a central role in the metabolic regulation of the cell,” says Lazar. “Not only is it a key component in making energy, but also in the pathway for turning off glucose production.” Excessive glucose production by the liver is a major cause of high blood sugar in diabetes.

This work was funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. Co-authors are first author Lei Yin, Joshua C. Curtin, Mohammed Qatananai, and Nava R. Szwergold, all from Penn and Robert A. Reid, Gregory M. Waitt, Derek J. Parks, Kenneth H. Pearce, and G. Bruce Wisely, from GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC.

Karen Kreeger | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

nachricht Inflammation Triggers Unsustainable Immune Response to Chronic Viral Infection
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

3-D-printed structures shrink when heated

26.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow

26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

First results of NSTX-U research operations

26.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>