Nav: Home

Compound controls biological clock with light

November 30, 2019

Researchers at Japan's Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM) of Nagoya University, the Netherlands' University of Groningen, and colleagues have found a new way to regulate the biological clocks of cells. Further studies on their approach, published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, could lead to treatments for a variety of conditions, including sleep disorder.

"We provide a new approach to precisely control the function of the circadian clock using light," explains ITbM biochemist Tsuyoshi Hirota, who led the research with University of Groningen chemist Ben Feringa. "The circadian clock controls the daily rhythms of our physiology. Its dysfunction is related to many diseases, such as sleep disorder, metabolic diseases and cancer. A new way to control the circadian clock could reveal molecular clock mechanisms and form the basis of therapeutics for circadian-clock-related diseases."

The researchers' approach involved controlling a molecule called longdaysin, which they found regulates cellular circadian clocks. Longdaysin binds to an enzyme called CKI, inhibiting its activity and lengthening the time for the biological clock to go through one sleep-wake cycle.

To control this process, the team incorporated a chemical "cage" into longdaysin that responds to light, called a photo-removable protecting group (PPG). Under dark conditions, PPG prevented longdaysin from binding with CKI. When the compound was exposed to UV or purple light, the PPG released longdaysin, enabling it to bind to and inhibit CKI. The process was successful in human cells, mouse tissue, and in zebrafish larvae.

This level of control of longdaysin activity with light could lead to the development of therapeutics to adjust the clock period of people with a condition called familial advanced sleep phase. Genetic mutations related to CKI lead to the condition, causing a person to get abnormally sleepy very early in the evening, and so goes to sleep early, and awakes and is energetic very early in the morning.

The researchers say their study could also help further investigations into circadian organization in mammals, identifying the relationship between circadian clock disruption and disease development, and the search for therapeutics that use light-dependent regulation to treat circadian-clock-related diseases.

The team next plans to manipulate cellular circadian clocks within cell populations and investigate how circadian clocks in individual cells communicate with each other.
-end-
The article, "Controlling the Circadian Clock with High Temporal Resolution through Photodosing," was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society on October 9, 2019, at DOI: 10.1021/jacs.9b05445

For more information, contact:

[About research]


Tsuyoshi Hirota
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University
E-mail: thirota@itbm.nagoya-u.ac.jp

[About ITbM]

Ayato Sato
Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules, Nagoya University
E-mail: press@itbm.nagoya-u.ac.jp

About Nagoya University

Nagoya University has a history of about 150 years, with its roots in a temporary medical school and hospital established in 1871, and was formally instituted as the last Imperial University of Japan in 1939. Although modest in size compared to the largest universities in Japan, Nagoya University has been pursuing excellence since its founding. Six of the 18 Japanese Nobel Prize-winners since 2000 did all or part of their Nobel Prize-winning work at Nagoya University: four in Physics - Toshihide Maskawa and Makoto Kobayashi in 2008, and Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano in 2014; and two in Chemistry - Ryoji Noyori in 2001 and Osamu Shimomura in 2008. In mathematics, Shigefumi Mori did his Fields Medal-winning work at the University. A number of other important discoveries have also been made at the University, including the Okazaki DNA Fragments by Reiji and Tsuneko Okazaki in the 1960s; and depletion forces by Sho Asakura and Fumio Oosawa in 1954.

Nagoya University

Related Science Articles:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.
Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.
Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.
World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.
PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Debbie Millman: Designing Our Lives
From prehistoric cave art to today's social media feeds, to design is to be human. This hour, designer Debbie Millman guides us through a world made and remade–and helps us design our own paths.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#574 State of the Heart
This week we focus on heart disease, heart failure, what blood pressure is and why it's bad when it's high. Host Rachelle Saunders talks with physician, clinical researcher, and writer Haider Warraich about his book "State of the Heart: Exploring the History, Science, and Future of Cardiac Disease" and the ails of our hearts.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Insomnia Line
Coronasomnia is a not-so-surprising side-effect of the global pandemic. More and more of us are having trouble falling asleep. We wanted to find a way to get inside that nighttime world, to see why people are awake and what they are thinking about. So what'd Radiolab decide to do?  Open up the phone lines and talk to you. We created an insomnia hotline and on this week's experimental episode, we stayed up all night, taking hundreds of calls, spilling secrets, and at long last, watching the sunrise peek through.   This episode was produced by Lulu Miller with Rachael Cusick, Tracie Hunte, Tobin Low, Sarah Qari, Molly Webster, Pat Walters, Shima Oliaee, and Jonny Moens. Want more Radiolab in your life? Sign up for our newsletter! We share our latest favorites: articles, tv shows, funny Youtube videos, chocolate chip cookie recipes, and more. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.