Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Tick Tock Tummies

Circadian clock gene activity in fly intestines in response to light

24 December 2018

Tick Tock Tummies

It takes a lot of learning before kids figure out how to tell the time but cells in our bodies have got it down from the word go. This is because they have their own circadian clocks tuned to a 24-hour rhythm. Researchers investigate these rhythms in stem cells using fruit fly intestines as a model. They fluorescently tagged the clock genes of fruit fly intestinal stem cells (pictured) and exposed the flies to light (top) and dark (bottom) for 12 hours each. The intestines were imaged every six hours using fluorescence microscopy (left to right), revealing the changing activity of the clock genes. Digging deeper the team found clock gene activity was not only affected by light but also food intake, stress and certain signalling molecules. This reveals how the rhythm of stem cell circadian clocks is intertwined with the changing conditions the stem cells experience during their lifetime.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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