Alcohol abuse is known to have a hereditary component, but little is known about the specific genes that underlie this tendency. Bhandari et al. now uncover a cross-species role for chloride intracellular channels (CLICs) in modulating behavioural responses to alcohol. After applying bioinformatics to identify alcohol-responsive loci in humans and mice, they followed up the most highly ranked gene – CLIC4 – in functional studies with model organisms. They found that behavioural and/or physiological responses to alcohol were modulated by the sole Clic gene in flies, by the two clic genes in worms (exc-4 and exl-1) and by Clic4 in mice. Although further studies are required to determine the exact mechanism of CLIC genes in modulating alcohol responses, the authors’ bioinformatic analyses suggest that CLIC proteins might affect RNA processing and trafficking, whereas other proposed roles include the regulation of ryanodine receptors or the TGFβ signalling pathway.
- Written by editorial staff. © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
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