General New tool could speed up neuroscience research into pheromones...

New tool could speed up neuroscience research into pheromones -Medical.net

-

- Advertisment -

Researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have developed a tool to identify molecular receptors in worms that are involved in sensing pheromones related to mating, an advance that could speed up neuroscience research into pheromones by eliminating months of work.

Associate professor of biology and biotechnology Jagan Srinivasan, doctoral candidate in biology Douglas K. Reilly, and researchers at Cornell University published their findings in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom.

Pheromones are chemicals produced by animals that send signals to other animals and trigger social responses, such as mating. Srinivasan and Reilly study pheromones in microscopic worms known as Caenorhabditis elegans, or C. elegans, to better understand how the sense of smell works. Their research could have implications for human research because C. elegans has a nervous system that mimics the basic mechanisms of smell in humans, and loss of the sense of smell is associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Srinivasan and Reilly developed a process that more quickly isolates pheromone receptors in C. elegans. Receptors are specialized proteins that act as docking stations for molecules. When worms are exposed to pheromones, the pheromones latch onto the molecular receptors in the worms.

Isolating a specific molecular receptor traditionally has been a long, laborious process because the worms possess more than 1,000 molecular receptors. Srinivasan described the traditional process–which takes three or four months–as hunting for a needle in a haystack. The new method he and Reilly developed takes about a month.

Here we are saving months of work, we’re streamlining the process, and we’re getting a targeted approach.”

Jagan Srinivasan, associate professor of biology and biotechnology

In their study, Srinivasan and Reilly attached a chemical known as an alkyne to an ascaroside, a pheromone produced by C. elegans to attract male worms for mating.

“We wanted to find a way that we could take a pheromone and link it to a probe, yet it would still be biologically active so a male would sense it and respond to it with the right receptor,” Reilly said. “Then we wouldn’t have to screen 1,200 receptors that are in the genome.”

For this study, the researchers focused on the process rather than the resulting receptor, which they said could be a subject of further research. Their probe methods could also be applied to other pheromones and to other research organisms, such as flies, to better understand how receptors function, they said.

“We’re looking at this mate attractant pheromone, but there are people looking at pheromones involved in foraging for food and other actions,” Reilly said. “For those, we can start to ask what receptors are sensing the pheromone we’re using.”

In addition, Srinivasan said:

Applications of this new technology could help identify receptors in parasitic nematodes that cause damage to agricultural crops.”

Source:

Journal reference:

Zhang, Y. K., et al. (2020) Photoaffinity probes for nematode pheromone receptor identification. Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. doi.org/10.1039/C9OB02099C.

News-medical.net: Continue reading…

Latest news

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings season 2 premiere date on Disney+

Once upon a time, in the happiest places on earth, real-life couples found their own happily ever afters — and fans across America streamed the romantic extravaganzas from beginning to end. Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, which documents weddings, engagements, honeymoons, and anniversaries hosted at different Disney destinations and coordinated by Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons,…

Sheffield United 0-1 Manchester City: Sergio Aguero comes off bench to score winner

Sergio Aguero has now scored six goals in his last three Premier League gamesSergio Aguero scored his sixth goal in his last three games as Manchester City edged a gutsy Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.The Blades had looked on course to claim a hugely credible draw against the reigning Premier League champions, with Dean Henderson…

Neymar stars as PSG beats Reims to reach League Cup final

PARIS (AP) — Neymar was involved in all three goals as Paris Saint-Germain cruised past Reims 3-0 on Wednesday to set up a League Cup final against Lyon. The home side had a player sent off with about 20 minutes left but PSG was already 2-0 up in the semifinal by then. Brazil center half…

Jean-Paul Gaultier: Stars turn out for designer’s final show

Image copyright Getty Images/ AFP Image caption Carla Bruni, French singer Chris, and Larsen Thompson are among the guests Celebrities have descended on the final fashion show of French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier in Paris, as he bows out after a 50-year career.Former French first lady Carla Bruni was among the guests photographed at the Paris…
- Advertisement -

Relive the Glory of Rush and Neil Peart With This Rare, Resurfaced Colbert Report Interview

Back in 2008, Rush delighted one of their all-time biggest fanboys, Stephen Colbert, by stopping by The Colbert Report for their first American television interview in decades. It is … an incredible five minutes of increasingly silly questions, and the chat (paired with the subsequent performance of “Tom Sawyer”) was one of the first things…

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings season 2 premiere date on Disney+

Once upon a time, in the happiest places on earth, real-life couples found their own happily ever afters — and fans across America streamed the romantic extravaganzas from beginning to end. Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings, which documents weddings, engagements, honeymoons, and anniversaries hosted at different Disney destinations and coordinated by Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings and Honeymoons,…

Must read

- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you