Science and Journalism in Society

Brandeis University JOUR 130B

Top 5 research articles I read this week

Circadian rhythm is the 24-hour physiological processes throughout a light/dark cycle. In other words, how your body responds to daylight/nighttime. It’s obvious to say that (most) people wake up in the morning feeling energized, to then feeling like napping (or taking a siesta) in the afternoon, to being awake again later in the night until you eventually fall asleep. Remarkably, this activity pattern is conserved across many species, down to rodents and even fruit flies- yes, those teeny, tiny flies feeding on your bananas at home. So, why is this even a concern? Altered activity patterns and disrupted sleep is seen in many neurological diseases and psychological disorders.  Seeing the same characteristic in different health conditions is unlikely a coincidence, suggesting your “biological clock” is somehow associated with your mental health. To further investigate what really goes on, scientists need to turn to a simple model organism for their research experiments, such as the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

Here are the top five scientific articles I recently read this week relating to circadian rhythms/sleep in Drosophila:

  1. Sitaraman, D., Aso, Y., Chen, N., Felix, M., Rubin, G.M., and Nitabach, M.N. 2015. Propagation of homeostatic sleep signals by segregated synaptic microcircuits of the Drosophila Mushroom Body. Current Biol 25:2915-2927.
  2. Seidner, G., Robinson, J.E., Wu, M., Worden, K., Masek, P., Roberts, S.W., Keene, A.C., and Joiner, W.J. 2015. Identification of neurons with a privileged role in sleep homeostasis in Drosophila melanogaster. Current Biol 25:2928-2938.
  3. Larkin, A., Chen, M., Kirazenblat, L., Reinhard, J., van Swinderen, B., and Claudianos, C. 2015. Neuroxin-1 regulates sleep and synaptic plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster. Euro J Neurosci 42:2455-2466.
  4. Mazzoccoli et al., 2016. A Timeless link between circadian patterns and disease. Trends Molec Med 22(1):68-81.
  5. Abruzzi, K., Chen, X., Nagoshi, E., Zadina, A., and Rosbash, M. 2015. RNA-seq profiling of small numbers of Drosophila Methods Enzymology 551:369-386.

1 Comment

  1. nice way to play with formats on your blog but I would have loved a little more clarification as to why/how each of these is important. Thanks!

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