Google Play icon

Fruit flies provide new insight into body’s rhythms

Posted November 28, 2015

Researchers from the University of Bristol have gained a new insight into how the circadian clock responds to changes in temperature.

With collaborators from University College London, the University of Lausanne, and the University of Cambridge, the researchers discovered that a protein called Ionotropic Receptor 25a (IR25a), an evolutionary relative of Ionotropic Glutamate Receptors have a key role in entraining the brains of fruit flies to react to small changes in temperature.

Their findings were recently published in the journal Nature.

Dr James Hodge, senior lecturer in the School of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: ‘The circadian clock is basically a timer that allows an organism – be that a fruit fly or a human – to adjust their behaviour and physiology according to the time of day. The clocks are controlled both by changes in light and temperature.’

‘However, the temperature sensitivity for adjusting the clock is remarkable, as the pace of the circadian clock is largely independent of the surrounding ambient temperature. In our experiments with fruit flies, we discovered that IR25a is part of a pathway to the circadian clock that detects small temperature differences. This pathway operates in the absence of known ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ sensors in the fruit fly’s antenna, which points to the existence of periphery-to-brain temperature signalling channels.’

The researchers investigated whether flies lacking IR25a were able to synchronize their circadian clocks to temperature changes. The team’s experiments showed that, when the temperature fluctuations were large, flies lacking IR25a could adapt. However, when the changes in the temperature range were small, the flies lacking IR25a could not adapt.

Dr. Ralf Stanewsky, leader of the UCL-based research team, said: ‘Our findings reveal a surprising complexity of how temperature signals reset the brain clock. Similar to what has been described for light resetting of the human and fly circadian clock, it seems clear that organisms do not rely on a single pathway, but employ multiple input routes for both temperature and light. This hints to the importance of accurate circadian clock synchronization with the environment, and future work will address how these different input signals are integrated in the brain clock.’

Source: University of Bristol

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
85,532 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. New treatment may reverse celiac disease (October 22, 2019)
  2. The World's Energy Storage Powerhouse (November 1, 2019)
  3. "Helical Engine" Proposed by NASA Engineer could Reach 99% the Speed of Light. But could it, really? (October 17, 2019)
  4. Plastic waste may be headed for the microwave (October 18, 2019)
  5. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email