Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mammalian Clock Protein Responds Directly To Light

Date:
July 1, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
We know that light effects the growth and development of plants, but what about humans and animals? New research explores this question by examining cryptochromes in flies, mice, and humans. In plants, cryptochromes are related to functions such as growth and development. Cryptochromes are present in humans and animals as well and regulate the mechanisms of the circadian clock. But how they work in humans and animals remains a mystery.

Using biophysical techniques to monitor cryptochrome blue light photoreceptors in living cells as they undergo a chemical redox reaction in response to light, researchers show that cryptochromes share similar properties in organisms ranging from plants to higher animals and humans.
Credit: Ahmad et al.

We all know that light effects the growth and development of plants, but what effect does light have on humans and animals? A new paper by Nathalie Hoang et al., published in PLoS Biology, explores this question by examining cryptochromes in flies, mice, and humans.

Related Articles


In plants, cryptochromes are photoreceptor proteins which absorb and process blue light for functions such as growth, seedling development, and leaf and stem expansion. Cryptochromes are present in humans and animals as well and have been proven to regulate the mechanisms of the circadian clock. But how they work in humans and animals is still somewhat of a mystery.

When plants are exposed to blue light, they experience a reduction in flavin pigments. This reduction activates the cryptochromes and thus allows for growth and seedling development. Hoang et al. sought to study the effect of blue light on fly, animal, and human cryptochromes by exposing them to blue light and measuring the change in the number of oxidized flavins. After a prolonged exposure to blue light, the authors found that the number of flavins did in fact decrease, as they do in plants.

While this research reveals a similarity in the responses of flies, mice, humans, and plants to blue light, the decrease in flavins affects circadian rhythms differently. The mouse cryptochromes, Mcry1 and Mcry2, interact with key parts of the circadian clock: mice with these cryptochromes missing exhibited a complete loss in circadian rhythm behaviors such as wheel-running. However, this change in behavior was independent of light exposure.

Although this paper by Hoang, et al, shows that cryptochromes in animals and humans do respond to light in a similar fashion to those in plants, the question as to how exactly light effects them is still open for further research. Although cryptochromes are mainly found in the retina of the eye, they are also present in many different tissues of the body that are close to the surface. This suggests that cryptochromes may have non-visual functions, and may also affect protein levels and behavior.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hoang et al. Human and Drosophila Cryptochromes Are Light Activated by Flavin Photoreduction in Living Cells. PLoS Biology, 2008; 6 (7): e160 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060160

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Mammalian Clock Protein Responds Directly To Light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630200959.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, July 1). Mammalian Clock Protein Responds Directly To Light. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630200959.htm
Public Library of Science. "Mammalian Clock Protein Responds Directly To Light." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080630200959.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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