HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Brown scientists uncover inner workings of rare eye cells

PROVIDENCE, RI A Brown University team has found that a protein called melanopsin plays a key role in the inner workings of mysterious, spidery cells in the eye called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, or ipRGCs.

Melanopsin, they found, absorbs light and triggers a biochemical cascade that allows the cells to signal the brain about brightness. Through these signals, ipRGCs synchronize the body's daily rhythms to the rising and setting of the sun. This circadian rhythm controls alertness, sleep, hormone production, body temperature and organ function.

Brown researchers, led by neuroscientist David Berson, announced the discovery of ipRGCs in 2002. Their work was astonishing: Rods and cones aren't the only light-sensitive eye cells.

Like rods and cones, ipRGCs turn light energy into electrical signals. But while rods and cones aid sight by detecting objects, colors and movement, ipRGCs gauge overall light intensity. Numbering only about 1,000 to 2,000 out of millions of eyes cells, ipRGCs are different in another way: They have a direct link to brain, sending a message to the tiny region that controls the body clock about how light or dark the environment is. The cells are also responsible for narrowing the pupil of the eye.

"It's a general brightness detection system in the eye," said Berson, the Sidney A. Fox and Dorothea Doctors Fox Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences. "What we've done now is provide more details about how this system works."

The research, published in the current issue of Nature, provides the first evidence that melanopsin is a functional sensory photopigment. In other words, this protein absorbs light and sets off a chain of chemical reactions in a cell that triggers an electrical response. The study also showed that melanopsin plays this role in ganglion-cell photoreceptors, helping them send a powerful signal to the brain that it is day or night.

The team made
'"/>

Contact: Wendy Lawton
Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
26-Jan-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Brown rot shrivels prune production in California
2. Brown cancer biologists identify major player in cell growth
3. Bones in motion: Brown scientists to create new 3-D X-ray system
4. Brown team finds crucial protein role in deadly prion spread
5. Genomic variation easier to identify with UCSD/Brown software
6. Brown scientists map structure of DNA-doctoring protein complex
7. Brown and OTS will jointly manage new ILTER network secretariat
8. Brownfields may turn green with help from Michigan State research
9. NIH grants $11 million to Brown University for cancer research
10. Prions rapidly remodel good protein into bad, Brown study shows
11. Brown-Harvard team solves mobile DNAs surgical sleight-of-hand

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/22/2016)... On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued ... the Biometric Exit Program. The Request for Information (RFI), ... that CBP intends to add biometrics to confirm when ... , in order to deter visa overstays, to ... Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160622/382209LOGO ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016   The Weather Company , ... Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers will be ... able to ask questions via voice or text and receive ... Marketers have long sought an advertising ... that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and can scale ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In anticipation of AxioMed’s exclusive cleanroom manufacturing ... President, Jake Lubinski will be traveling to Switzerland from December 5-10. Mr. Lubinski ... and Zurich to discuss the benefits of a viscoelastic disc. AxioMed received CE ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of Jain ... to their offering. ... , An increasing ... anticipated. Nanotechnology will be applied at all stages of drug ... in clinical trials. Many of the assays based on nanobiotechnology ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... The Conference Forum has announced that the ... will take place on February 1-3, 2017 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York ... program provides a unique 360-degree approach, which addresses the most up-to-date information regarding business ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... , Dec. 1, 2016   SurePure, Inc. ... announced today that the Company has concluded an agreement ... right for a 90-day period to acquire units of ... of approximately USD 3.7 million.  Concurrently ... with Tamarack under which Tamarack will seek regulatory approvals ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: