20. D’un long confinement dans les entrailles de la terre aux rouages des horloges biologiques

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Cette 20ème chronique démarre en été 1962, avec un spéléologue dénommé Michel Siffre, qui s'enfonce dans le noir du gouffre de Scarasson à la frontière franco-italienne. Et il va passer 60 jours seul dans les entrailles de la terre. Avec cette expérience d'isolement hors du temps, une nouvelle science vient de naître, la chronobiologie. Cette chronique présente ensuite les travaux qui ont permis le décryptage des mécanismes moléculaires de l’horloge biologique d’une petite mouche et qui ont valu à leurs auteurs le prix Nobel 2017 de physiologie. Les rouages des horloges biologiques des Mammifères sont ensuite abordés par comparaison avec ceux de la mouche, mettant en évidence l’existence d’un modèle de fonctionnement commun, mais faisant aussi apparaître des différences majeures, notamment dans le mode d’action de la lumière dans la synchronisation des horloges.

Auteur : Yves Muller – Professeur Agrégé de classe exceptionnelle - Docteur en Neurosciences - Université de Montpellier

Biological Chronicles - From a long confinement in the bowels of the earth to the cogs of our biological clocks

Our 20th chronicle begins in summer 1962, with a speleologist named Michel Siffre, descending into the dark of the Scarasson abyss on the Franco-Italian border. He will spend 60 days alone in the bowels of the earth. Through this experience of timeless isolation, a new science is born, chronobiology. Our chronicle then presents the work that allowed for the decoding of the molecular mechanisms of the biological clock of a small fly and that won their authors the 2017 Nobel Prize in physiology. We then compare the workings of the biological clocks in Mammals with those of the fly, highlighting the existence of a common operating model, but also major differences, notably in the mode of action of light in clock synchronization.

Références :

De Mairan J. (1729) Observation botanique. Hist Acad Roy Sci ; 35-36

Michel Siffre (1963) Hors du temps. Julliard

Konopka RJ, Benzer S. (1971) Clock mutants of Drosophila melanogaster. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA ; 68 : 2112–6.

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Crews ST, Thomas JB, Goodman CS. (1988) The Drosophila single-minded gene encodes a nuclear protein with sequence similarity to the per gene product. Cell ; 52 : 143-51.

Hardin PE, Hall JC, Rosbash M. (1990) Feedback of the Drosophila period gene product on circadian cycling of its messenger RNA levels. Nature ; 343 : 536-40.

Hardin PE, Hall JC, Rosbash M. (1992) Circadian oscillations in period gene mRNA levels are transcriptionally regulated. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA ; 89 :11711-5

Zeng H, Hardin PE, Rosbash M. (1994) Constitutive overexpression of the Drosophila period protein inhibits period mRNA cycling. EMBO J ; 13 : 3590-8

Sehgal A, Price JL, Man B, Young MW. (1994) Loss of circadian behavioral rhythms and per RNA oscillations in the Drosophila mutant timeless. Science 263 : 1603-6

Vosshall LB, Price JL, Sehgal A, Saez L, Young MW. (1994) Block in nuclear localization of period protein by a second clock mutation, timeless. Science ; 263 : 1606-9

Vitaterna MH, King DP, Chang AM et al. (1994) Mutagenesis and mapping of a mouse gene, Clock, essential for circadian behavior. Science ; 264 :719-25

Gekakis N, Saez L, Delahaye-Brown AM et al. (1995) Isolation of timeless by PER protein interaction: defective interaction between timeless protein and long-period mutant PERL. Science ; 270 : 811-5

Price JL, Dembinska ME, Young MW, Rosbash M. (1995) Suppression of PERIOD protein abundance and circadian cycling by the Drosophila clock mutation timeless. EMBO J ; 14 : 4044-9

Ameisen JC (2017) Les horloges circadiennes – Sur les épaules de Darwin - France Inter

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