Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UT Southwestern Scientist Helps Identify Neurons In Worms That Control Link Between Stress, Eating

Date:
October 31, 2002
Source:
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas
Summary:
Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the University of California, San Francisco have shown that feeding behavior in worms is controlled by neurons that detect adverse or stressful conditions.

DALLAS – Oct. 31, 2002 - Scientists at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and the University of California, San Francisco have shown that feeding behavior in worms is controlled by neurons that detect adverse or stressful conditions.

Related Articles


The findings are published in the Oct. 31 issue of Nature.

The discovery of the gene that controls social feeding behavior in worms was made in 1998 by researchers at UCSF. The new findings build on the earlier research by identifying the nociceptive neurons – neurons that transmit pain signals - triggering group feeding.

“The gene that controls this behavior in worms is like the one that controls feeding in humans,” said Dr. Leon Avery, associate professor of molecular biology at UT Southwestern and an author of the study. “The epidemic of obesity in America makes [the findings on neurons] potentially relevant to health.”

Scientists have long known that soil worms, called Caenorhabditis elegans, have varying eating habits. The species of the worm commonly used in research labs tends to feed alone. In the wild, however, most of the C. elegans feed in groups.

“It's like they’re having a party,” Avery said. “Other worms pay no attention to each other when there’s food.”

In higher species, factors like season, availability of food and natural enemies can regulate aggregation behavior, which in turn can affect biodiversity as well as community structure and dynamics. Although social scientists have made strides in understanding the significance group behaviors have had on ecological and evolutionary processes, little research has been done on the basic neural mechanisms underlying this behavior.

Avery and other researchers were able to show that whether the worms ate alone or in groups was dictated by the existence of the ADL and ASH nociceptive neurons. Worms without ASH and ADL eat alone.

C. elegans are studied because they have a genetic makeup similar to humans. Because their systems are very small (about 950 cells make up an entire worm), genes are easier to track and study. About 1 millimeter long, the worms grow, reproduce and age much like humans. Researchers who identified key genes in C. elegans involved in organ development and programmed cell death were awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine earlier this month.

Avery said the Nature study is the culmination of a decade-long research project. Some of the initial work was performed in 1990 by Dr. M. Wayne Davis, another of the study’s authors, when he was a summer undergraduate research fellow at UT Southwestern under the tutelage of Avery. Davis is currently a researcher at the University of Utah.

The work was supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Medical Research Council of Great Britain.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "UT Southwestern Scientist Helps Identify Neurons In Worms That Control Link Between Stress, Eating." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021031073824.htm>.
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. (2002, October 31). UT Southwestern Scientist Helps Identify Neurons In Worms That Control Link Between Stress, Eating. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021031073824.htm
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "UT Southwestern Scientist Helps Identify Neurons In Worms That Control Link Between Stress, Eating." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021031073824.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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