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  1. The circadian clock in mammals regulates the sleep/wake cycle and many associated behavioral and physiological processes. The cellular clock mechanism involves a transcriptional negative feedback loop that gives rise to circadian rhythms in gene expression with an approximately 24-hour periodicity. To maintain system robustness, clocks throughout the body must be synchronized and their functions coordinated. In mammals, the master clock is located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. The SCN is entrained to the light/dark cycle through photic signal transduction and subsequent induction of core clock gene expression. The SCN in turn relays the time-of-day information to clocks in peripheral tissues. While the SCN is highly responsive to photic cues, peripheral clocks are more sensitive to non-photic resetting cues such as nutrients, body temperature, and neuroendocrine hormones. For example, feeding/fasting and physical activity can entrain peripheral clocks through signaling pathways and subsequent regulation of core clock genes and proteins. As such, timing of food intake and physical activity matters. In an ideal world, the sleep/wake and feeding/fasting cycles are synchronized to the light/dark cycle. However, asynchronous environmental cues, such as those experienced by shift workers and frequent travelers, often lead to misalignment between the master and peripheral clocks.more »Emerging evidence suggests that the resulting circadian disruption is associated with various diseases and chronic conditions that further circadian desynchrony and accelerate disease progression. In this review, we discuss how sleep, nutrition, and physical activity synchronize circadian clocks and how chronomedicine may offer novel strategies for disease intervention.« less
  2. Kramer, Achim (Ed.)
    In mammals, the circadian clock coordinates cell physiological processes including inflammation. Recent studies suggested a crosstalk between these two pathways. However, the mechanism of how inflammation affects the clock is not well understood. Here, we investigated the role of the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB in regulating clock function. Using a combination of genetic and pharmacological approaches, we show that perturbation of the canonical NF-κB subunit RELA in the human U2OS cellular model altered core clock gene expression. While RELA activation shortened period length and dampened amplitude, its inhibition lengthened period length and caused amplitude phenotypes. NF-κB perturbation also altered circadian rhythms in the master suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) clock and locomotor activity behavior under different light/dark conditions. We show that RELA, like the clock repressor CRY1, repressed the transcriptional activity of BMAL1/CLOCK at the circadian E-box cis-element. Biochemical and biophysical analysis showed that RELA binds to the transactivation domain of BMAL1. These data support a model in which NF-kB competes with CRY1 and coactivator CBP/p300 for BMAL1 binding to affect circadian transcription. This is further supported by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showing that binding of RELA, BMAL1 and CLOCK converges on the E-boxes of clock genes. Taken together, these data support amore »significant role for NF-κB in directly regulating the circadian clock and highlight mutual regulation between the circadian and inflammatory pathways.« less
  3. null (Ed.)