Publication details

The insect circadian rhythm controlled by the vertebrate Cryptochrome is sensitive to weak electromagnetic fields even in permanent darkness.



Year of publication 2023
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Description Mechanisms controlling circadian rhythm and magnetic compass of animals remarkably use the same flavoprotein Cryptochrome (Cry). Whether Cry is a magnetic compass sensor is not yet definitively confirmed, but the fact that insect circadian rhythms have been shown to be sensitive to magnetic fields (MF) are in line with this hypothesis. We were interested to see whether a static weak MF, as well as a static weak radiofrequency (RF) field, affect clock rhythms in a species of insect that has Cry II involved in its clock controlling system, as do vertebrates. In the insect species Pyrrhocoris apterus (order Hemiptera) kept in constant conditions for 10 days, we found that both steady 120uT MF and broad-band <1nT/?Hz RF noise altered the period of the internal clock. Surprisingly, this sensitivity existed under conditions of permanent darkness or – more exactly - under IR light illumination (852nm) only. The result may suggest a non-canonical, light-independent, role for vertebrate Cry II in animal magnetoreception. In contrast to the data presented at the last RIN conference in 2019, we present for the first time a case of magnetic susceptibility of circadian clock system based on the same Cryptochrome type as vertebrates and show that the presence of short-wavelength light may not be a necessary condition for a magnetic susceptibility of a biological processes based on Cry II.
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