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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: The Bladder's Biological Clock
1 May 2012 12:46 pm
You'll have to pee at least once during an 8-hour workday. So how can most of us sleep through the night without visiting the porcelain throne? New research fingers the circadian clock, a molecular timer responsible for keeping us on daily sleep-wake cycles. Scientists compared urination patterns, both volume and frequency, in normal mice and in mice genetically engineered without two circadian genes, Cryptochrome-1 and Cryptochrome-2, resulting in dysfunctional circadian rhythms. They found that a circadian gene called Rev-erbα controlled the production of Cx43, a protein that determines how much urine bladders hold. Normal mice urinated more frequently when awake, compared with when they slept, while genetically altered mice urinated without regard to daily cycles, scientists report online today in Nature Communications. (Normal and engineered mice produced the same volume of urine.) The researchers also found that increases in Rev-erbα caused increases in Cx43 concentrations when normal mice were awake. Since more Cx43 means less room in the bladder, the team speculates that although normal mice didn't stop producing urine when asleep, their bladders were able to hold more due to decreased Cx43 concentrations. This allowed the mice to urinate less frequently. The authors note that scientists investigating why children wet the bed or why older people get up to urinate during the night should consider circadian clock effects.
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