Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When temperatures get cold, newly-discovered process helps fruit flies cope

Date:
July 21, 2014
Source:
University of Rochester
Summary:
Cold-blooded animals cannot regulate their body temperature, so their cells are stressed when facing temperature extremes. Worse still, even at slightly colder temperatures, some biological processes in the cell are slowed down more than others, which should throw the cells’ delicate chemical balance out of whack. Yet, those cells manage to keep their biological processes coordinated. Now researchers have found out how they do that.

Cold-blooded animals cannot regulate their body temperature, so their cells are stressed when facing temperature extremes. Worse still, even at slightly colder temperatures, some biological processes in the cell are slowed down more than others, which should throw the cells' delicate chemical balance out of whack. Yet, those cells manage to keep their biological processes coordinated. Now researchers from the University of Rochester and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory have found out how they do that.

Related Articles


"The production of proteins is a key process in all cells, and it is important to make the right amounts of each protein at just the right time," said Michael Welte, an associate professor of biology at the University of Rochester. "What we have discovered are factors responsible for keeping that process perfectly coordinated in at least one type of cold-blooded animal."

Welte and his team made their discovery while studying the internal mechanisms of the egg cell of the fruit fly, known as Drosophila.

Welte explains that the production of certain proteins takes place along a type of assembly line that carries raw materials from the nucleus to the posterior end of the egg cell, where these proteins are then manufactured. When temperatures drop, the rate at which the proteins are built slows down significantly more than the rate at which the raw materials are delivered -- something that has the potential of throwing off the entire operation. What keeps the assembly line functioning -- based on the new research -- is a protein called Klar. It does that by slowing down the rate at which the raw materials are delivered, to match the rate of protein building.

The research findings were published today in The Journal of Cell Biology.

The protein assembly line consists of microtubules that serve as train tracks on which the raw materials -- including messenger RNA (mRNA) -- are carried to the protein-making machinery, called ribosomes. It's there that a protein called "Oskar" is produced. The role of Oskar is to mark the posterior end of the cell so that the future embryo forms its tail in the right place.

As temperatures decreased, Welte found that the protein-building process failed when Klar was removed from the egg cell. Only when Klar was present did the fruit fly develop properly.

Unlike fruit flies, humans and other warm-blooded animals do have a mechanism for adjusting internal temperatures. But Welte speculates that when internal temperatures do fluctuate in humans, as in the case of fevers, our cells may also need a way to coordinate the protein-building process. "While we don't have the Klar protein in our cells, the mechanism for producing proteins is very similar."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Rochester. "When temperatures get cold, newly-discovered process helps fruit flies cope." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721095955.htm>.
University of Rochester. (2014, July 21). When temperatures get cold, newly-discovered process helps fruit flies cope. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721095955.htm
University of Rochester. "When temperatures get cold, newly-discovered process helps fruit flies cope." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140721095955.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

Malnutrition on the Rise as Violence Flares in C. Africa

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Violence can flare up at any moment in Bambari with only a bridge separating Muslims and Christians. Malnutrition is on the rise and lack of water means simple cooking fires threaten to destroy makeshift camps where people are living. Duration: 00:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce 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