Feeds

Human 'alarm clock' enzyme discovered

Boffins isolate molecular wake-up call

Top three mobile application threats

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
LOHAN and the amazing technicolor spaceplane
Our Vulture 2 livery is wrapped, and it's les noix du mutt
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.