Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Two scientists in a lab

The Cader lab has discovered that TRESK is a key regulator of nocturnal suprachiasmatic nucleus dynamics and light adaptive responses. Their research is published in Nature Communications today.

Our lives are governed by the day-night, 24-hour cycle. We all have a master clock – the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) to align our physiology and behaviour to this cycle. Proper functioning of the SCN has been shown to be important for a healthy life and for healthy ageing. Conversely disruption of the master clock has been implicated in a wide range of disorders from dementia to cancer.

One of the most important signals to the master clock is the light environment, which is transmitted through our eyes to the SCN. When a light signal is received by this nucleus, this results in changes in molecular rhythms and neuronal firing patterns of the SCN. In this way the SCN is reset to align with a new light-dark cycle. This for example might occur as the days lengthen and shorten over the year with the changing seasons or when travelling across time zones.

The Cader lab have been working on an ion channel called TRESK as an important regulator of nerve excitability. Their previous work has shown that TRESK is important in pain sensation and has a role in migraine. Their recent studies have now revealed that TRESK also regulates nerve excitability in the master clock.

Without TRESK in the SCN, the ability to adapt to a light signal is significantly compromised and SCN neurons are hyper-excitable. This research highlights the importance of TRESK in how the master clock functions and responds to environmental signals. The implications of these novel findings on conditions such as migraine where patients show light sensitivity will be explored in future studies.

Similar stories

Study reveals association between diagnosis of a neuropsychiatric condition and severe outcome from COVID-19 infection, and other severe acute respiratory infections

New research from the University of Oxford has shown an increased risk of severe illness and death from both COVID-19 and other severe respiratory infections, such as influenza and pneumonia, among people with a pre-existing mental health condition.

New study shows clinical symptoms for Alzheimer’s can be predicted in preclinical models

Establishing preclinical models of Alzheimer’s that reflect in-life clinical symptoms of each individual is a critically important goal, yet so far it has not been fully realised. A new collaborative study from the University of Oxford has demonstrated that clinical vulnerability to an abnormally abundant protein in Alzheimer’s brain is in fact reflected in individual patient induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cortical neurons.

Visit from the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust

Earlier this month, we were delighted to welcome the Director of the Sir Jules Thorn Charitable Trust, Richard Benson, and its Chair of Trustees, Liz Charal.

Oxford receives £122m funding for healthcare research

Health and care research in Oxford is to receive £122 million in government funding over the next five years to improve diagnosis, treatment and care for NHS patients. Our department will play a major role.