Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UT Southwestern scientist helps identify neurons in worms that control link between stress, eating

31.10.2002


Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the University of California, San Francisco have shown that feeding behavior in worms is controlled by neurons that detect adverse or stressful conditions.



The findings are published in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature.

The discovery of the gene that controls social feeding behavior in worms was made in 1998 by researchers at UCSF. The new findings build on the earlier research by identifying the nociceptive neurons – neurons that transmit pain signals - triggering group feeding.


"The gene that controls this behavior in worms is like the one that controls feeding in humans," said Dr. Leon Avery, associate professor of molecular biology at UT Southwestern and an author of the study. "The epidemic of obesity in America makes [the findings on neurons] potentially relevant to health."

Scientists have long known that soil worms, called Caenorhabditis elegans, have varying eating habits. The species of the worm commonly used in research labs tends to feed alone. In the wild, however, most of the C. elegans feed in groups.

"It’s like they’re having a party," Avery said. "Other worms pay no attention to each other when there’s food."

In higher species, factors like season, availability of food and natural enemies can regulate aggregation behavior, which in turn can affect biodiversity as well as community structure and dynamics. Although social scientists have made strides in understanding the significance group behaviors have had on ecological and evolutionary processes, little research has been done on the basic neural mechanisms underlying this behavior.

Avery and other researchers were able to show that whether the worms ate alone or in groups was dictated by the existence of the ADL and ASH nociceptive neurons. Worms without ASH and ADL eat alone.

C. elegans are studied because they have a genetic makeup similar to humans. Because their systems are very small (about 950 cells make up an entire worm), genes are easier to track and study. About 1 millimeter long, the worms grow, reproduce and age much like humans. Researchers who identified key genes in C. elegans involved in organ development and programmed cell death were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine earlier this month.

Avery said the Nature study is the culmination of a decade-long research project. Some of the initial work was performed in 1990 by Dr. M. Wayne Davis, another of the study’s authors, when he was a summer undergraduate research fellow at UT Southwestern under the tutelage of Avery. Davis is currently a researcher at the University of Utah.


###
The work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Medical Research Council of Great Britain.

To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail, go to http://www3.utsouthwestern.edu/ and click on "Latest News." Then click on "Receive Our News" in the left navigation and follow the instructions.


Steve O’Brien | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www3.utsouthwestern.edu/
http://www.swmed.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht If Machines Could Smell ...
19.07.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Algae-killing viruses spur nutrient recycling in oceans
18.07.2019 | Rutgers 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: Better thermal conductivity by adjusting the arrangement of atoms

Adjusting the thermal conductivity of materials is one of the challenges nanoscience is currently facing. Together with colleagues from the Netherlands and Spain, researchers from the University of Basel have shown that the atomic vibrations that determine heat generation in nanowires can be controlled through the arrangement of atoms alone. The scientists will publish the results shortly in the journal Nano Letters.

In the electronics and computer industry, components are becoming ever smaller and more powerful. However, there are problems with the heat generation. It is...

Im Focus: First-ever visualizations of electrical gating effects on electronic structure

Scientists have visualised the electronic structure in a microelectronic device for the first time, opening up opportunities for finely-tuned high performance electronic devices.

Physicists from the University of Warwick and the University of Washington have developed a technique to measure the energy and momentum of electrons in...

Im Focus: Megakaryocytes act as „bouncers“ restraining cell migration in the bone marrow

Scientists at the University Würzburg and University Hospital of Würzburg found that megakaryocytes act as “bouncers” and thus modulate bone marrow niche properties and cell migration dynamics. The study was published in July in the Journal “Haematologica”.

Hematopoiesis is the process of forming blood cells, which occurs predominantly in the bone marrow. The bone marrow produces all types of blood cells: red...

Im Focus: Artificial neural network resolves puzzles from condensed matter physics: Which is the perfect quantum theory?

For some phenomena in quantum many-body physics several competing theories exist. But which of them describes a quantum phenomenon best? A team of researchers from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and Harvard University in the United States has now successfully deployed artificial neural networks for image analysis of quantum systems.

Is that a dog or a cat? Such a classification is a prime example of machine learning: artificial neural networks can be trained to analyze images by looking...

Im Focus: Extremely hard yet metallically conductive: Bayreuth researchers develop novel material with high-tech prospects

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bayreuth has produced a previously unknown material: Rhenium nitride pernitride. Thanks to combining properties that were previously considered incompatible, it looks set to become highly attractive for technological applications. Indeed, it is a super-hard metallic conductor that can withstand extremely high pressures like a diamond. A process now developed in Bayreuth opens up the possibility of producing rhenium nitride pernitride and other technologically interesting materials in sufficiently large quantity for their properties characterisation. The new findings are presented in "Nature Communications".

The possibility of finding a compound that was metallically conductive, super-hard, and ultra-incompressible was long considered unlikely in science. It was...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on UV LED Technologies & Applications – ICULTA 2020 | Call for Abstracts

24.06.2019 | Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Heat flow through single molecules detected

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Heat transport through single molecules

19.07.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Welcome Committee for Comets

19.07.2019 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>