Navigation Links
UNC scientists pinpoint link between light signal and circadian rhythms
Date:12/29/2010

Chapel Hill, NC In a new paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Aziz Sancar, MD, PhD, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the UNC School of Medicine, and his colleagues have taken an important step in understanding the underlying molecular signals that influence a broad array of biological processes ranging from the sleep-wake cycle to cancer growth and development.

Scientists who work in this field, known as chronobiology, have identified the genes that direct circadian rhythms in people, mice, fruit flies, fungi and several other organisms. However, the mechanisms by which those genes interact with light in the organism's environment have not been well understood.

Circadian rhythms are the physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow the earth's 24 hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in an organism's environment.

About 15 years ago, Sancar discovered a human protein called cryptochrome which acts as a core component of the molecular clock in mammals. The protein is also found in fruit flies, other insects, and plants.

"Cryptochrome 'resets' the circadian clock, but we were not sure how it worked," said Sancar, who is also a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Using fruit flies (Drosophilia melanogaster), the team purified cryptochrome and developed a biochemical test that shows when and how the protein transmits signals.

"We can now detect the protein at work. When we expose cryptochrome to blue light in fruit flies, a millisecond of light exposure has a half-life during which we can examine the mechanism in the laboratory," said Sancar. "We can follow the molecular signals after light exposure and have a reliable model to test various hypotheses about how light interacts with the circadian systems we know are so important to biological processes."

The research may be useful to scientists who study the circadian clock's relationship to sleep disorders, jet lag, cancer, bipolar disorder, depression and other diseases.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellen de Graffenreid
edegraff@med.unc.edu
919-962-3405
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scripps Research scientists identify key interaction in hepatitis C virus
2. SU scientists find that in the evolutionary mating game, brawn and stealth rule
3. CSHL scientists show in unprecedented detail how cortical nerve cells form synapses with neighbors
4. Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation awards breakthrough scientists
5. UCSB scientists demonstrate biomagnification of nanomaterials in simple food chain
6. Scientists and physicians use genetic sequencing to identify and treat unknown disease
7. Scientists decipher 3 billion-year-old genomic fossils
8. Scripps Research scientists show prions mutate and adapt to host environment
9. Scientists discover powerful biomarker panel for the early detection of breast cancer
10. Scientists identify the largest network of protein interactions related to Alzheimers disease
11. Polar bears: On thin ice? Extinction can be averted, scientists say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative high ... ... Maldives Immigration Controller ... (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for the ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition and Touchless Sensing Market ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to ... between 2017 and 2022. Continue Reading ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , a provider ... today announced the release of the SentiVeillance ... improved facial recognition using up to 10 surveillance, ... computer. The new version uses deep neural-network-based facial ... it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... The ... endogenous context, enabling overexpression experiments and avoiding the use of exogenous expression plasmids. ... is transformative for performing systematic gain-of-function studies. , This complement to loss-of-function ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device Summit ... 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together current ... several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to address ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... a leading provider of patient support solutions, has announced the ... which will launch this week. The VMS CNEs will address ... enhance the patient care experience by delivering peer-to-peer education programs ... to help women who have been diagnosed and are being ... ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased emissions are the main ... people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are affected by air pollution ... of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take action. , “I knew ...
Breaking Biology Technology: