Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alcohol Tolerance 'Switch' Found

Date:
October 22, 2009
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
Researchers have found a genetic "switch" in fruit flies that plays an important role in making flies more tolerant to alcohol. This metabolic switch also has implications for the deadly liver disease cirrhosis in humans. A counterpart human gene contributes to a shift from metabolizing alcohol to the formation of fat in heavy drinkers. This shift can lead to fatty liver syndrome -- a precursor to cirrhosis.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found a genetic "switch" in fruit flies that plays an important role in making flies more tolerant to alcohol.

This metabolic switch also has implications for the deadly liver disease cirrhosis in humans. A counterpart human gene contributes to a shift from metabolizing alcohol to the formation of fat in heavy drinkers. This shift can lead to fatty liver syndrome -- a precursor to cirrhosis.

In the study, published in the October print issue of the journal Genetics, the research team measured the time it takes for flies to stagger due to alcohol intake while simultaneously identifying changes in the expression of all their genes. They used statistical methods to identify genes that work together to help the flies adapt to alcohol exposure. In looking at corresponding human genes, a counterpart gene called ME1 was associated with alcohol consumption in humans, as people with certain variations of the gene showed a tendency to drink stronger alcoholic beverages.

Dr. Robert Anholt, William Neal Reynolds Professor of Biology and Genetics at NC State and the senior author of the study, says the research has possible clinical implications.

"Our findings point to metabolic pathways associated with proclivity for alcohol consumption that may ultimately be implicated in excessive drinking," he said. "Translational studies like this one, in which discoveries from model organisms can be applied to insights in human biology, can help us understand the balance between nature and nurture, why we behave the way we do, and -- for better or worse -- what makes us tick."

Anholt conducted the study with Dr. Tatiana Morozova, a post-doctoral researcher in biology; Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished University Professor of Genetics; Dr. Eric Stone, an assistant professor of statistics; and graduate student Julien F. Ayroles. Researchers from Boston University's School of Medicine also contributed to the study.

The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse, a unit of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Morozova TV, Ayroles JF, Jordan KW, Duncan LH, Carbone MA, Lyman RF, Stone EA, Govindaraju DR, Ellison CR, Mackay TF, Anholt RR. Alcohol Sensitivity in Drosophila: Translational Potential of Systems Genetics. Genetics, 2009; DOI: 10.1534/genetics.109.107490

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "Alcohol Tolerance 'Switch' Found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021115157.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2009, October 22). Alcohol Tolerance 'Switch' Found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021115157.htm
North Carolina State University. "Alcohol Tolerance 'Switch' Found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091021115157.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Your Spouse's Personality May Influence Your Earnings

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Research from Washington University suggest people with conscientious spouses have greater career success. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Can A Blood Test Predict Psychosis Risk?

Newsy (Sep. 26, 2014) Researchers say certain markers in the blood can predict risk of psychosis later in the life. The test can aid in early treatment for the condition. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

Harpist Soothes Gorillas, Orangutans With Music

AP (Sep. 25, 2014) Teri Tacheny, a harpist, has a loyal following of fans who appreciate her soothing music. Every month, gorillas, orangutans and monkeys amble down to hear her play at the Como Park Zoo in Minnesota. (Sept. 25) 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