Study Identifies “Visual System” Protein for Circadian Rhythm Stability

Teneurin-3 appears to help wire the brain in mice to resist changes in sleep and other cycles linked to changing light.

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health have identified a protein in the visual system of mice that appears to be key for stabilizing the body’s circadian rhythms by buffering the brain’s response to light. The finding, published December 4, 2023 in PLoS Biology, advances efforts to better treat sleep disorders and jet lag, the study authors say.The open-access article is titled “Teneurin-3 Regulates the Generation of Non-Image-Forming Visual Circuitry and Responsiveness to Light in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus.” “If circadian rhythms adjusted to every rapid change in illumination, say an eclipse or a very dark and rainy day, they would not be very effective in regulating such periodic behaviors as sleep and hunger. The protein we identified helps wire the brain during neural development to allow for stable responses to circadian rhythm challenges from day to day,” says Alex Kolodkin, PhD, Professor in the Johns Hopkins Department of Neuroscience and Deputy Director for the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.
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