At the beginning of 1997, it seemed that the research on the mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP) could not lead to any new surprises. One member of this proton carrier family was known at that time. This UCP is present in mammalian mitochondria and is a key component of non-shivering thermogenesis.
However, during the seven last years, genome-sequencing programs have identified novel UCPs in mammals but also in many other eukaryotes including unicellular organisms, fungi, and plants. New functions have been proposed for these new UCPs and many studies have shown their involvement in cold tolerance, fever, senescence, inflammation, diabete, atherosclerosis and obesity. Despite a considerable effort from the scientific community, no consensus for their physiological roles is presently accepted. Do they maintain "thermal balance" in mitochondria (and by extension in the entire cell), or do they work as "safety valves" when overloads in energy metabolism occur? To answer to these questions, we will focus on t he cold induction of the four UCPs described in Drosophila melanogaster.
First, we will investigate the protein and regulatory sequence polymorphism existing in natural populations living under different climate. Second, we will analyse experimentally the expression of UCP genes after cold shock or cold acclimation. Third, we will use the powerful of genetic tools available in Drosophila to modify the expression of UCPs.
Fields of science
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call