PER:PER protein pair required for circadian clock function
Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered a new protein complex operating in fruit fly circadian clocks, which may also help to regulate our own biological clocks. Circadian clocks are thought to have evolved to enable organisms to match their behaviour to specific time slots during the 24 hour day. They are synchronised with our surrounding environment via natural light or temperature cycles.
Professor Ralf Stanewsky and his team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences study the circadian clocks of Drosophila, a type of fruit fly. The flies' body-clocks are regulated by two proteins called Period (PER) and Timeless (TIM).
The current model of circadian clocks in flies involves the formation of complexes between these two different clock proteins, known as heterodimers (TIM:PER). Similarly, mammalian circadian clocks (including those in humans) also rely on a heterodimer complex made up of the Period (PER) and Cryptochrome (CRY) proteins.
But now, a new study performed in Professor Stanewsky's lab shows that a complex made of two identical Period proteins, known as a PER:PER homodimer is also crucial for circadian clock function in flies. Writing in the journal PLoS Biology, Stanewsky explains how his team designed a PER protein which could only join with TIM, not with itself.
"We generated a mutation in the PER protein which prevented the formation of the PER:PER dimer, but not that of the PER:TIM heterodimer," he explains. "These mutant flies showed drastically impaired behaviour and molecular clock function, suggesting that PER homodimers are vital for the function of circadian clocks."
The mutant fly PER proteins were designed using structural protein data generated by Dr Eva Wolf at the MPI in Dortmund (Germany). In the same issue of PLoS Biology the Wolf group reports findings indicating that the PER:PER homodimer could also be an important feature of circadian clocks in mammals, including humans.
Source: Queen Mary, University of London
- Coordinating the circadian clock: Molecular pair controls time-keeping and fat metabolismFri, 6 Apr 2012, 16:34:59 EDT
- Watching the cogwheels of the biological clock in living cellsFri, 26 Oct 2012, 15:47:06 EDT
- New role for ancient clockFri, 18 Jun 2010, 14:02:46 EDT
- How cancer cells loose their (Circadian) rhythmTue, 11 May 2010, 1:06:51 EDT
- Waking up is hard to doWed, 16 Feb 2011, 13:37:56 EST
Articles on the same topic
- A biological basis for the 8-hour workday?Thu, 23 Apr 2009, 13:30:22 EDT
- PER:PER protein pair required for circadian clock functionfrom PhysorgWed, 29 Apr 2009, 9:28:38 EDT
- Biological Basis For The Eight-hour Workday?from Science DailyMon, 27 Apr 2009, 1:14:45 EDT
- A biological basis for the 8-hour workday?from Science CentricFri, 24 Apr 2009, 12:07:10 EDT
- Circadian Workday? 8 Hours On The Job May Have A Biological Basisfrom Scientific BloggingThu, 23 Apr 2009, 15:07:13 EDT
- A Biological Basis for the 8-Hour Workday?from Newswise - ScinewsThu, 23 Apr 2009, 14:35:34 EDT
- A Biological Basis for the 8-Hour Workday? Researchers uncover 8- and 12-hour Cycles of Gene Activityfrom PhysorgWed, 22 Apr 2009, 18:14:49 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
No popular news yet
- From ocean to land: The fishy origins of our hips
- New method of finding planets scores its first discovery
- Invasive crazy ants are displacing fire ants in areas throughout southeastern US
- Seabird bones reveal changes in open-ocean food chain
- Scientific insurgents say 'Journal Impact Factors' distort science
No popular news yet
No popular news yet
- Stem cell transplant restores memory, learning in mice
- 2 landmark studies report on success of using image-guided brachytherapy to treat cervical cancer
- Researchers discover mushrooms can provide as much vitamin D as supplements
- Cutting back on sleep harms blood vessel function and breathing control
- Study: Low-dose aspirin stymies proliferation of 2 breast cancer lines