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To Sleep, Perchance To Dream: New Insight Into Melatonin Production

Date:
April 3, 2007
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
In the April 1 issue of Genes & Development, a Korean research team led by Dr. Kyong-Tai Kim (Pohang University) describes how melatonin production is coordinated with the body's natural sleep/wake cycles.

In the April 1 issue of Genes & Development, a Korean research team led by Dr. Kyong-Tai Kim (Pohang University) describes how melatonin production is coordinated with the body's natural sleep/wake cycles.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain, which helps to regulate our bodies' circadian rhythm (the roughly-24-hour cycle around which basic physiological processes proceed).

Normally, melatonin production is inhibited by light and enhanced by darkness, usually peaking in the middle of the night. Melatonin's expression pattern is mimicked by a protein called AANAT, which is a key enzyme in the melatonin biosynthesis pathway.

Dr. Kim and colleagues uncovered the mechanism of rhythmic control of AANAT mRNA translation, and thereby melatonin synthesis. The researchers found that rodent AANAT mRNA translation is mediated by IRES (internal ribosome entry site) elements in the 5' end of the transcript, through binding of another protein, called hnRNP Q. In fact, siRNA knock-down of hnRNP Q reduced AANAT and melatonin production under nocturnal conditions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "To Sleep, Perchance To Dream: New Insight Into Melatonin Production." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102403.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2007, April 3). To Sleep, Perchance To Dream: New Insight Into Melatonin Production. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102403.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "To Sleep, Perchance To Dream: New Insight Into Melatonin Production." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070402102403.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

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