Scientists discover reset 'button' for body clock

Published on April 29, 2015 01:04:04 AM
Scientists have found a molecular reset button for our internal body clock, a discovery that may allow for new treatments of sleep disorders and cognitive and metabolic abnormalities, commonly associated with jet lag and shift work.

According to the study led by researchers at McGill and Concordia universities in Montreal, the body's clock is reset when a phosphate combines with a key protein in the brain. This process, known as phosphorylation, is triggered by light. In effect, light stimulates the synthesis of specific proteins called Period proteins that play a pivotal role in clock resetting, thereby synchronising the clock's rhythm with daily environmental cycles.

"This study is the first to reveal a mechanism that explains how light regulates protein synthesis in the brain, and how this affects the function of the circadian clock," said senior author Nahum Sonenberg.