` CSHLPress.com - Metabolism Narcolepsy

CSHL Press News

Genetics of Hunger and Sleep

11/15/2007

Genetics of Hunger and Sleep

In the November 15th issue of G&D, Drs. Devanjan Sikder and Thomas Kodadek (UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas) identify that the protein HIF-1 mediates the regulatory effects of the neurotransmitters Orexin A and B on appetite and wakefulness. The scientists show that orexin upregulates HIF1 (both by inducing its transcription and by decreasing the levels of its antagonist, VHL). Dr. Kodadek commented that "HIF1 activity mainly acts to manipulate cellular energy metabolism. So this surprising connection between orexin and HIF-1 argues that narcolepsy, which is a disease of orexin deficiency, is actually a metabolic disease caused by an energy imbalance in neurons."
Genome-Wide RNAi Screen for Regulators of Aging

Also in the November 15th issue of G&D, Dr. Gary Ruvkun (Harvard Medical School) and colleagues present the first genome-wide RNAi screen to identify genes that normally delay the onset of aging in C. elegans deficient in the insulin signaling component, daf-2. While previous studies have focused upon genes that extend lifespan when inactivated, this study revolves around genes whose function normally declines throughout life and therefore underlie the aging process. The researchers identified roughly 100 new aging genes – most of which are conserved in other animals, including humans. Dr. Ruvkun is confident that “Because humans and worms share about half their genes, it is likely that many of the human counterparts to these worm genes are important in human lifespan as well.”

####

Genes & Development is a publication of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, non-profit, basic research and educational institution. Scientists at the Laboratory conduct groundbreaking research in cancer, neurobiology, plant molecular genetics, genomics and bioinformatics. The Laboratory is recognized internationally for its educational activities, which include an extensive program of scientific meetings and courses that attract more than 8000 scientists to the campus each year. For more information about the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, visit http://www.cshl.edu or call the Department of Public Affairs at (516) 367-8455.

Contact:
Heather Cosel-Pieper
Genes & Development
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
tel. (516) 422-4018
fax (516) 422-4093



Return to CSHL Press News index