Navigation Links
Texas A&M researchers find new mechanism for circadian rhythm
Date:10/20/2009

Molecules that may hold the key to new ways to fight cancer and other diseases have been found to play an important role in regulating circadian rhythm, says Liheng Shi, a researcher in Texas A&M's Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences.

Circadian rhythm is the roughly 24-hour cycle of physiological activities of humans, animals and even bacteria, Shi explains.

He and colleagues have had their research, currently focusing on the circadian rhythm in chickens' eyes, published in the "Journal of Biological Chemistry." Chicken eyes have a lot in common with human eyes.

"The prefix 'photo-' in photoreceptors means light, and photoreceptors in animals' eyes receive light signals and then translate them into signals that their brain can understand, and that is how they see," he explains.

Shi notes there are two kinds of photoreceptors cone photoreceptors and rod photoreceptors, named for the shape they resemble.

Some channels that scientists call L-VGCCs are important to the circadian rhythm in chickens' eyes. These channels are important because they are the pathways through which messages go in and out of photoreceptors, and these messages are crucial to the proper functioning of the eye.

A group of proteins (L-VGCCα1C) carries the messages in and out. At night, they get more work done than during the day to "prepare chickens' eyes for another day's busy work" and "tell various parts of the eye to adjust to the darkness," explains Shi, who holds a post-doctoral position under the mentorship of Gladys Ko, one of the coauthors of the article.

These proteins are controlled by messengers called mRNA, and they are especially active, raising the question of why, he says.

"There must be an explanation," Shi says, "and we found a possible answer."

The answer lies in a sibling of the messenger named microRNA-26a, a "small guy" in the RNA family.

"During the day, the 'naughty small guy' crawls onto the back of his brother mRNA, so his brother cannot concentrate on his work," the Texas A&M researcher explains. "At night, however, he lets his brother go, so his brother focuses on his work and gets more work done."

He advises not to "look down" on the mRNA. "If they quite their job, the chicken may become blind," Shi adds. "Besides regulating circadian rhythm, the microRNA family also influence cancer development, cell division, heart disease, and so on."

"What we know about microRNAs is probably only a tip of the iceberg," the Texas A&M postdoc says. "As we get to know more about them, these small guys may be able to help us diagnose and treat many diseases."


'/>"/>

Contact: Liheng Shi
LShi@cvm.tamu.edu
979-845-6853
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
2. Ceres and Texas A&M to develop and market high-biomass sorghum for biofuels
3. Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be studied by University of Texas at Austin marine scientists
4. UT Southwestern scientist honored among best in Texas research
5. Rices West honored as one of Texas best researchers
6. Texas Hospital nations first to use large-scale cocoon strategy against whooping cough
7. Texas A&M testing oral contraceptives for animals
8. Texas A&M scientists say early Americans arrived earlier
9. Researchers confirm dead zone off Texas coast since 1985
10. Underwater microscope helps prevent shellfish poisoning along Gulf Coast of Texas
11. UTMB inventions win University of Texas System commercialization awards
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/7/2016)... , June 7, 2016  Syngrafii Inc. and ... business relationship that includes integrating Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ ... project. This collaboration will result in greater convenience ... credit union, while maintaining existing document workflow and ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2016   The Weather Company , an IBM Business ... industry-first capability in which consumers will be able to interact ... questions via voice or text and receive relevant information about ... Marketers have long sought an advertising solution that can ... personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale across millions of ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... -- Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology to leaders of the ... latest premium product recently added to the range of products distributed by Ampronix. ... ... ... Display- Ampronix News ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... 24, 2016  Regular discussions on a range of subjects ... the two entities said Poloz. Speaking at a ... , he pointed to the country,s inflation target, which ... "In certain areas ... have common economic goals, why not sit down and address ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... release of its second eBook, “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering ... retention in this eBook by providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Md. , June 23, 2016 A person ... from the crime scene to track the criminal down. ... the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA ... sequencing to support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: