Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Taking the temperature of the no-fly zone

12.06.2008
Brandeis research has implications for understanding disease vectors, mechanisms of pain and inflammation

Flies, unlike humans, can't manipulate the temperature of their surroundings so they need to pick the best spot for flourishing. New Brandeis University research in this week's Nature reveals that they have internal thermosensors to help them.

Biologist Paul Garrity and his colleagues have discovered that the fruitfly Drosophila has four large heat-responsive neurons located in its brain. These are activated at temperatures just above the fly's preferred temperature by an ion channel in the cell membrane known as dTrpA1, which itself acts as a molecular sensor of warmth.

This internal warmth-sensing pathway helps the fly to avoid slightly raised temperatures and acts together with a cold-avoidance pathway in the antennae to set the fly's preferred temperature—enabling the fly to pick its optimal ambient temperature range for survival.

... more about:
»Animal »Sensor »internal

"We were very surprised to discover that flies used sensors in their brains to gauge environmental warmth. Large animals use peripheral neurons to monitor ambient temperature, and the prevailing view has been that the situation in small animals like fruit flies was similar," explained Garrity.

He and his colleagues Fumika Hamada, Mark Rosenzweig, Kyeongjin Kang, Stefan Pulver, Alfredo Ghezzi, and Tim Jegla pursued several avenues hoping to find the peripheral warmth sensors, but in the end the data indicated that the critical sensors weren't peripheral after all, but rather tucked away inside the fly's head.

"We don't know the details yet, but our data suggest dTRPA1 may function a bit like a fire alarm. When the temperature inside the fly's head gets too high, dTRPA1 activates these internal sensors that somehow help the fly move toward more hospitable climes," said Garrity.

Despite the ubiquitous influence of environmental temperature on animal and human behavior, little is known about the mechanisms of neural circuits that drive animals to select a preferred temperature. This research brings scientists an important step closer to understanding how neurons help flies seek just the right temperature to ensure their survival. In turn, these neural circuits are also potential targets for disrupting thermal preference and other thermosensory behaviors in agricultural pests and disease vectors such as malaria- and dengue-fever mosquitoes, who use heat-seeking to locate prey.

As global warming leads hundreds of species, including insects, fish, birds, and mammals to seek out different environments in which temperature is more optimal, understanding the molecules and the internal neural cues that drive these behaviors will shed light on the strategies animals use to cope with changes in their environments. Furthermore, the molecules that control these responses, like dTRPA1, are evolutionarily conserved proteins important for pain and inflammation in humans. A deeper understanding of how these proteins work will be important for devising new approaches and medicines for treating pain and inflammation.

Laura Gardner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.brandeis.edu

Further reports about: Animal Sensor internal

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines
20.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees
20.11.2018 | Universität Leipzig

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>