Navigation Links
New gene reduces retinal degeneration in fruit flies

Johns Hopkins researchers have discovered a gene in fruit flies that helps certain specialized neurons respond more quickly to bright light. The study, published in the April 4 issue of Current Biology, also has implications for understanding sensory perception in mammals.

In teasing apart the molecular interactions and physiology underlying light perception, the researchers studied a gene they dubbed "Lazaro" that is expressed 15 times higher in the fly eye than the rest of the fly head. They found that this gene is required for a second biochemical pathway that controls the activity of a protein called the TRP channel. TRP channels are found in fruit fly neurons responsible for sensing light. The fly TRP channel is the founding member of a family of related proteins in mammals that are essential for guiding certain nerves during development and for responding to stimuli including heat, taste and sound.

By shining bright light onto and recording electrical changes in single nerve cells in the fly eye, researchers found that neurons carrying a mutation in this gene cannot respond as well to light as compared to neurons carrying normal copies of this gene. In fact, the mutant neurons turn off their response to light four times faster than normal neurons. Because Lazaro helps fly TRP channels work at their maximum, it is possible that a Lazaro-like gene in mammals might also play a role in how well mammalian TRP channels work.

"These results have implications for understanding sensory signaling in mammals," says the study's senior author, Craig Montell, Ph.D., a professor in the biological chemistry department in the Institute of Basic Biomedical Sciences at Hopkins.

The researchers also discovered that alterations in this new gene greatly reduce the retinal degeneration caused by a different mutant. They named this new gene Lazaro after the novel Lazarillo de Tormes, in which the orphan boy Làzaro helps a blind man see.

Of th e molecules known to control TRP channels, a key player is diacylglycerol, known as DAG. DAG is known to be made by a well-studied biochemical pathway. The researchers found that Lazaro provides a second way to make DAG, enabling the cell to make more DAG.

Why is there a second pathway for DAG production? "We think Lazaro is priming the system for maximal light response," says Montell.

DAG can be metabolized to polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to control TRP channels in flies and may also control some mammalian TRP channels. However, exactly how these molecules exert their control remains unclear. In adding the Lazaro gene to the list of players, the researchers hope to learn more about how TRP channels are controlled.


'"/>

Source:Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions


Related biology news :

1. Male circumcision reduces risk of HIV transmission from women to men
2. Deficiency of growth hormone and IGF-1 reduces cancer and kidney disease, but creates other problems
3. New miniaturised chip dramatically reduces time taken for DNA analysis
4. New processing method reduces peanut allergenicity
5. Blocking the nerve receptor EP1 in mouse models reduces brain damage caused by stroke
6. Study finds that nutritionally enhanced rice reduces iron deficiency
7. Overfishing in inland waters reduces biodiversity and threatens health
8. Aspirin reduces cardiovascular risks in men and women -- but differently
9. Prenatal nicotine exposure reduces breathing response of newborns...
10. Heat-shock protein vaccine reduces alveolar bone loss
11. New compound reduces stroke damage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com ... Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... will focus on developing health and wellness apps that ... Hack the Genome is the first hackathon for ... world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech and health ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has ... Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on ... . In addition, CHS previously earned a place ... an electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS ... of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , a ... technologies, today announced the release of the ... provides improved facial recognition using up to 10 ... single computer. The new version uses deep neural-network-based ... and it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit (GPU) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Any expert in stem cell research ... disciplines for more than half a century. Despite their essential roles in human ... widely known that molecular tags developed for this purpose also tag other, more abundant, ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... August 14, 2017 , ... Every ... Key researchers in the antibody community have recently come together to address this ... in the laboratory. , The team at Thermo Fisher Scientific ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... , ... August 11, 2017 , ... Algenist continues to ... formulation unlocking collagen like never before. , Collagen is the key structural element ... market with Liquid Collagen™, which include: , First to ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... Durham, NC (PRWEB) , ... August 09, 2017 , ... ... fractures. Almost half never recover well enough to live an independent lifestyle and, even ... , A new discovery by doctors at the University of California Davis Medical ...
Breaking Biology Technology: