Washington: Scientists have discovered a gene that when mutated leads to hunger at unwanted hours, interrupts sleep and causes overeating.
The researchers said that this pair of genes normally keeps eating schedules in sync with daily sleep rhythms and when they tested mice, they found that when the genes were mutated, they caused unusual mealtimes and weight gain.
Salk scientists have discovered a pair of genes that, and, when mutated, may play a role in so-called night eating syndrome. In mice with mutations in one of the genes, eating patterns are shifted, leading to. The results were published in this month's Cell Reports.
The researchers discovered that individuals with an inherited sleep disorder often carry a particular mutation in a protein called PER2. The mutation is in an area of the protein that can be phosphorylated, the ability to bond with a phosphate chemical that changes the protein's function.
It was found that the mutated PER1 led to lower protein levels during the night, higher levels during the day, and a faster degradation of protein whenever it was produced by cells.