Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Researchers Obtain Key Insights into How the Internal Body Clock is Tuned

Published: Friday, August 22, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, August 22, 2014
Bookmark and Share
New way to regulate internal body clocks by long non-coding RNA.

Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a new way that internal body clocks are regulated by a type of molecule known as long non-coding RNA.

The internal body clocks, called circadian clocks, regulate the daily “rhythms” of many bodily functions, from waking and sleeping to body temperature and hunger. They are largely “tuned” to a 24-hour cycle that is influenced by external cues such as light and temperature.

“Although we know that long non-coding RNAs are abundant in many organisms, what they do in the body, and how they do it, has not been clear so far,” said Dr. Yi Liu, Professor of Physiology. “Our work establishes a role for long non-coding RNAs in ‘tuning’ the circadian clock, but also shows how they control gene expression.”

Determining how circadian clocks work is crucial to understanding several human diseases, including sleep disorders and depression in which the clock malfunctions. The influence of a functional clock is evident in the reduced performance of shift workers and the jet lag felt by long-distance travellers.

Dr. Liu and his team were able to learn more about the circadian rhythms by studying model systems involving the bread mold, Neurospora crassa. The researchers found that the expression of a clock gene named frequency (frq) is controlled by a long non-coding RNA named qrf (frq backwards) - an RNA molecule that is complementary, or antisense, to frq. Unlike normal RNA molecules, qrf does not encode a protein, but it can control whether and how much frq protein is produced.

Specifically, qrf RNA is produced in response to light, and can then interfere with the production of the frq protein. In this way, qrf can “re-set” the circadian clock in a light-dependent way. This regulation works both ways: frq can also block the production of qrf. This mutual inhibition ensures that the frq and qrf RNA molecules are present in opposite “phases” of the clock and allows each RNA to oscillate robustly. Without qrf, normal circadian rhythms are not sustained, indicating that the long non-coding RNA is required for clock functions.

The findings are published online in the journal Nature.

“We anticipate a similar mode of action may operate in other organisms because similar RNAs have been found for clock genes in mice. In addition, such RNAs may also function in other biological processes because of their wide presence in genomes,” said Dr. Liu, who is the Louise W. Kahn Scholar in Biomedical Research.

UT Southwestern investigators are leaders in unraveling the gene networks underlying circadian clocks and have shown that most body organs, such as the pancreas and liver, have their own internal clocks, and that virtually every cell in the human body contains a clock. It now appears that the clocks and clock-related genes - some 20 such genes have been identified - affect virtually all of the cells’ metabolic pathways, from blood sugar regulation to cholesterol production.

“This study adds to an important body of work that has shown the ubiquity of a circadian clock across species, including humans, and its role in metabolic regulation in cells, organs, and organisms,” said Dr. Michael Sesma, Program Director in the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology at the of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which partially funded the research. “These new results from Dr. Liu and his colleagues also extend beyond understanding the function of an anti-sense RNA in the fine tuning of a cell’s daily rhythm; they provide an example of the means by which anti-sense transcription likely regulates other key molecular and physiological processes in cells and organisms.”


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Gene Regulation in Brain May Explain Repetitive Behaviors in Rett Syndrome Patients
The research could be a key step in developing treatments to eliminate symptoms that drastically impair the quality of life in Rett patients.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Examining mtDNA May Help Identify Unknown Ancestry That Influences Breast Cancer Risk
Researchers studying mtDNA in a group of triple negative breast cancer patients found that 13 percent of participants were unaware of ancestry that could influence their risk of cancer.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Enhancing Antibiotics to Defeat Resistant Bacteria
Scientists enhance ability of antibiotics to defeat resistant types of bacteria using molecules called PPMOs
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Scientists Enhance Ability of Antibiotics to Defeat Resistant Types of Bacteria
Researchers at UTSW have reported successful use of a synthetic molecule to enhance antibiotic effectiveness against certain pathogens.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
Researchers Identify Method of Creating Long-Lasting Memories
Researchers at UTSW have found that the attention-grabbing experiences trigger the release of memory-enhancing chemicals to help etch memories into the brain.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Novel MRI Technique Distinguishes Healthy Prostate Tissue from Cancer
The UTSW researchers have determined that glucose stimulates release of the zinc ions from inside epithelial cells, which they could then track on MRIs.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Signaling Molecule Regulates Release of the Hunger Hormone Ghrelin
Researchers at UT Southwestern have identified that the blocking release of the hormone ghrelin may mediate low blood sugar effect in children taking beta blockers.
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
PARP Proteins Explore Therapeutic Targets in Cancer
Researchers at UTSW have identified a previously unknown role of a certain class of proteins that opens the door to explore therapeutic targets in cancer and other disease.
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Innate Immunity Connection to Rare Childhood Disease
Researchers have discovered a gene that's linked to a rare, fatal syndrome in children has an important innate immunity role.
Thursday, August 04, 2016
UT Southwestern Targets Rising Rates of Kidney Cancer
Company has received $11 million in funding to the rising threat of kidney cancer.
Wednesday, August 03, 2016
New Mechanism of Tuberculosis Infection
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a new way that tuberculosis bacteria get into the body, revealing a potential therapeutic angle to explore.
Friday, July 22, 2016
New Therapeutic Targets For Small Cell Lung Cancer Identified
Researchers at UTSW Medical Center have identified a protein termed ASCL1 that is essential to the development of small cell lung cancer.
Friday, July 22, 2016
New Mechanism of Tuberculosis Infection
Researchers have identified a new infection mechanism of tuberculosis that could lead to a new therapeutic angle.
Friday, July 22, 2016
New Method Detects Telomere Length for Research into Cancer, Aging
UT Southwestern Medical Center cell biologists have identified a new method for determining the length of telomeres, the endcaps of chromosomes, which can influence cancer progression and aging.
Friday, July 01, 2016
3-D Atomic Structure of Cholesterol Transporter
Researchers at UTSW have determined the 3-D atomic structure of a human sterol transporter that helps maintain cholesterol balance.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Scientific News
Point of Care Diagnostics - A Cautious Revolution
Advances in molecular biology, coupled with the miniaturization and improved sensitivity of assays and devices in general, have enabled a new wave of point-of-care or “bedside” diagnostics.
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Blood Pressure Drug May Boost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Treatment
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the blood pressure drug may make a type of lung cancer treatment more effective.
Insight into Eye Diseases
Scientists recreate zebrafish cell regeneration from retinal stem cells in mice.
New Discovery May Benefit Farmers Worldwide
Scientists have shown how a crop-microbe 'team' protect against fungal infection.
Antibodies Paving the Way to HIV Vaccine
Researchers uncover factors responsible for the formation of broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies in humans.
Designing Drugs with a Whole New Toolbox
Researchers develop methods to design small, targeted proteins with shapes not found in nature.
Protein Studies Discover Molecular Secrets
Two protein studies have mapped proteins that reveal the secrets to recycling carbon and healing cells.
Tapping Evolution to Improve Biotech Products
Researchers show how 'ancestral sequence reconstruction' can be used to guide engineering of a blood clotting protein.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!