All bacteria have an internal clock like humans and animals

The biological clock or circadian rhythms are internal timing mechanisms that are widespread

in nature, allowing living organisms to cope with major changes from day to night, even in different seasons.

These molecular rhythms that exist insidecells use external signals such as daylight and temperature to synchronize the biological clock with the environment. This is why humans experience dramatic changes in well-being and perception when jet lagging - our internal clocks are temporarily out of sync before aligning with the new cycle of light and dark at our destination.

A growing body of research in the last twodecades have demonstrated the importance of molecular clocks for basic processes such as sleep and cognition in humans, and for the regulation of water and photosynthesis in plants.

Although bacteria make up 12% of the planet's biomass andimportant for health, ecology and industrial biotechnology, little is known about their 24-hour biological clock. Previous research has shown that photosynthetic bacteria, which require light to generate energy, have a biological clock. But free-living non-photosynthetic bacteria in this respect remained a mystery.

In this international study, scientistsfound free circadian rhythms in non-photosynthetic soil bacteria Bacillus subtilis. The team used a technique called luciferase reporting, which involves adding an enzyme that produces bioluminescence, allowing researchers to visualize how active a particular gene is within the body.

“Bacillus subtilis is used in variousFrom laundry detergents to plant protection, besides the recent use of human and animal probiotics, the development of a biological clock for this bacterium will be a culmination. in various biotechnological fields ”.

Professor Akos Kovacs, Technical University of Denmark

They focused on two genes: ytvA, which encodes a blue light photoreceptor, and an enzyme called KinC, which is involved in inducing biofilm and spore formation in bacteria.

They watched gene levels in constant darknesscompared to cycles of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. They found that the structure of ytvA levels was adjusted to the cycle of light and dark, with levels increasing in darkness and decreasing in light. The cycle was still observed in constant darkness.

“We have discovered for the first time that non-photosynthetic bacteria can tell time. They adapt their molecular work to the time of day by reading cycles under light or in a temperature environment. "

Professor Martha Murrow from Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich

The researchers noticed that for the appearanceit took several days for a stable pattern, and that the pattern could be reversed if the conditions were inverted. These two observations are common features of circadian rhythms and their ability to "obey" environmental cues.

They performed similar experiments usingdaily temperature changes; for example, by increasing the length or strength of the diurnal cycle, and found that the ytvA and kinC rhythms were regulated in accordance with circadian rhythms, and not just turned on and off in response to temperature.

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