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 October 23, 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 October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
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