Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene That Prevents Tumor Growth Also Carries Messages From Circadian Clock

Date:
September 24, 2001
Source:
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Summary:
Scientists have long known that the gene Nf1 is so important to development that when it is missing the condition known as Neurofibromatosis results, causing tumors and sometimes leading to cancer before the patient reaches adulthood. Now researchers have discovered that the Nf1 gene serves a second major purpose: It is also necessary for circadian rhythm. The body can’t maintain its rest-activity cycle without it.

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Scientists have long known that the gene Nf1 is so important to development that when it is missing the condition known as Neurofibromatosis results, causing tumors and sometimes leading to cancer before the patient reaches adulthood.

Related Articles


Now researchers have discovered that the Nf1 gene serves a second major purpose: It is also necessary for circadian rhythm. The body can’t maintain its rest-activity cycle without it.

“There have been a lot of anecdotal reports by physicians that many patients suffering from neurofibromatosis also suffer from sleep disturbances. But this is the first time someone has definitively linked Nf1 to the circadian system,” said Julie Williams, PhD, first author of the study by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Their finding, to be published Friday, Sept. 21, in the journal Science, represents a major advance in understanding the body’s complex circadian mechanism. It moves the research beyond the question of what constitutes our biological clock, and how it responds to light, to the more specific question: How does it actually regulate changes within the body?

Williams and her colleagues found that in the absence of the Nf1 protein, the body is unable to keep time. Although their research relied on the Drosophila fly model, the Penn scientists were also able to establish that the signaling pathway triggered by Nf1 in the fly is directly analogous to the Nf1 pathway in mammals.

“Our work shows that when Nf1 affects circadian rhythm in flies, it uses the same mechanism that is present in humans, which is the Ras/Mapk pathway. This validates the fly as the model to study this illness,” said Amita Sehgal, PhD, who directed the study.

“You can think of it like an electric circuit,” Sehgal said. “We have the clock. Now we have identified another part of the circuitry. We’ve identified a protein that ‘works’ in the circuitry. This will allow us to determine where some of the wires go.

The researchers believe that is important because it provids a handle on the signals that transmit time-keeping cues from the clock to other parts of the body. "We've found that Nf1 affects the circadian rhythm of the ‘rest’ phase in the cycle, but it doesn’t affect the clock itself," said Sehgal. "The clock is keeping time—but it can’t send the message affecting ‘rest’ without NF1,” Sehgal said.

The research was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, NIH, Neurofibromatosis Foundation, American Cancer Society, and U.S. Army Medical Research command.

Others who participated in this study are: Henry S. Su, PhD; Jeffrey Michael Field, PhD, both Penn scientists, and Andre Bernards, PhD, of Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in Boston.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Gene That Prevents Tumor Growth Also Carries Messages From Circadian Clock." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 September 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010924061919.htm>.
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. (2001, September 24). Gene That Prevents Tumor Growth Also Carries Messages From Circadian Clock. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010924061919.htm
University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. "Gene That Prevents Tumor Growth Also Carries Messages From Circadian Clock." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010924061919.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins