Navigation Links
How the fly flies
Date:11/17/2011

This press release is available in German.

Flies are real flight artists, although they only have small wings compared to their body size. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried near Munich, Germany, recently identified the genetic switch that regulates the formation of flight muscles. "The gene spalt is essential for the generation of the ultrafast super muscles," emphasizes Frank Schnorrer, head of the research group 'Muscle Dynamics'. "Without spalt, the fly builds only normal leg muscles instead of flight muscles." The scientists' results have now been published in Nature.

In order to fly efficiently, flies have to flap their small wings very fast. This causes the familiar buzzing and humming of the small beasts. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster moves her wings at a frequency of 200 hertz that means its flight muscles contract and relax 200 times per second. "In contrast, a hundred meters sprinter who moves his legs only a few times per second moves like a snail," Frank Schnorrer describes. How can the fruit fly flap its wings at such a high frequency?

Muscles control all body movements, including the wing oscillations. However, flight muscles are unique. Their contractions are not only regulated by nerve impulses as usual, but additionally triggered by tension. Every fly has two categories of flight muscles which enable the wing oscillations: One type moves the wings down and, at the same time, stretches the other type which induces its contraction. Such, the wings are pulled up again and stable wing oscillations begin.

No spalt, you are flightless

By means of targeted gene silencing in the fruit fly, scientists in the research group "Muscle Dynamics" at the MPI of Biochemistry have now identified the switch essential for the formation of flight muscles: "Spalt". Transcription factors like Spalt play an important role for the correct transcription of the genetic information into RNA and proteins necessary in the respective cell type. Spalt only exists in flight muscles and is responsible for the specific architecture of their myofibrils. These components of muscle fibres alone enable the contraction of a muscle in response to the applied tension during the oscillations. Without Spalt, the flies survive, but are flightless. The flight muscles no longer react to tension and behave like normal leg muscles. Vice versa, the scientists succeeded in creating flight muscle-like muscles in the fly's legs by only inserting Spalt.

These results could be medically important. "Human body muscles do not have Spalt and are hardly regulated by tension," Frank Schnorrer explains. "But the human cardiac muscle builds Spalt and the tension inside the ventricle influences the heartbeat intensity. Whether Spalt plays a role in heartbeat regulation, is not yet known and remains to be investigated."


'/>"/>
Contact: Anja Konschak
konschak@biochem.mpg.de
49-898-578-2824
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UCLA biologists slow the aging process in fruit flies
2. Biologists use flies and mice to get to the heart of Down syndrome
3. Digging up clues: Research on buried blow flies to help crime scene investigators
4. Distribution atlas of butterflies in Europe
5. New thinking on regulation of sex chromosomes in fruit flies
6. A tale of (more than) 2 butterflies
7. Research reveals how butterflies copy their neighbors to fool birds
8. Mutant flies shed light on inherited intellectual disability
9. No safety in numbers for moths and butterflies
10. Too many relatives ruining your picnic? Be glad the flies dont invite their cousins
11. Instant evolution in whiteflies: Just add bacteria
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
How the fly flies
(Date:2/8/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... by 2021 from $8.3 billion in 2016 at a ... to 2021. Report Includes - An overview of ... market trends, with data from 2015 and 2016, and ... - Segmentation of the market on the basis of ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... February 7, 2017 Ipsidy Inc. ... Corporation [OTC: IDGS], ("Ipsidy" or the "Company") a provider ... processing services, is pleased to announce the following changes ... Effective January 31, 2017, Philip D. Beck ... CEO and President.  An experienced payment industry professional and ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... , Feb. 3, 2017 A new independent ... Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) . Designed to fill a ... complex identity market, founding partners Mark Crego ... combined years just in identity expertise that span federal ... non-profit leadership. The Crego-Kephart combined expertise has a common ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/1/2017)... , March 1, 2017  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV), ... today that it will report financial results for the fourth ... 15, 2017. Trovagene,s senior management team will host ... p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (2:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) to ... ...
(Date:3/1/2017)... SHANGHAI , March 1, 2017  Luxcel ... based Biotechnology Company and HD Biosciences Co., ... Research Organization (CRO), announced today that they have ... new assay technologies for preclinical drug safety services. ... Luxcel,s state-of-the-art assays and technologies for assessment of ...
(Date:3/1/2017)... Conn. (PRWEB) , ... March 01, 2017 , ... ... Group, Inc. will hold its annual technology show and open house, Southern Tech ... CNC machinery from Okuma, Tsugami, Hardinge Group and Chiron and perform live metal ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... ... February 28, 2017 , ... ... Inc. (Newark, DE) have formed a strategic partnership to develop and market ... renewable energy laboratories. These automated testing solutions will save analysis time and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: