Feeds

Human 'alarm clock' enzyme discovered

Boffins isolate molecular wake-up call

Build a business case: developing custom apps

When your alarm clock doesn't go off, you can thank a humble enzyme for getting you out of bed, scientists at the Salk Institute reveal in research published today.

Researchers examining the mechanisms that control our sleep have found the chemical reaction that makes us stir abruptly, throw the cat off the bed and stumble blinking into the bathroom.

They have pinpointed an enzyme called JARID1a which acts as a molecular "bugle call" to our cells, firing them into action, say research team led by Satchindananda Panda and Luciano DiTacchio.

We've already known that a protein called PERIOD or PER is at the centre of our biological clock – raising blood pressure, stimulating heart rate and mental processes – but what shuts it down at night or gets it going again in the morning was unclear.

Tests with human cells and fruit flies suggest that JARID1a is vital to healthy sleep patterns, and that it ensures that the PER protein rises to its normal peak each day.

Fruit flies that were genetically modified to under-produce JARID1a lost their circadian rhythms completely: "Flies deprived of JARID1a took frequent naps and were unable to settle into a normal pattern of sleeping," the researchers reported.

Our body clock is vital in regulating a whole range of functions – and any malfunctioning in the genes which control these processes can result in various disorders. Scientists hope their research will be useful in helping with investigations into those diseases.

The research was published in Science. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's SHOCK DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck - boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.