Clock-Talk: Interactions between central and peripheral circadian oscillators in mammals

Ueli Schibler*, Ivana Gotic, Camille Saini, Pascal Gos, Thomas Curie, Yann Emmenegger, Flore Sinturel, Pauline Gosselin, Alan Gerber, Fabienne Fleury-Olela, Gianpaolo Rando, Maud Demarque, Paul Franken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review


In mammals, including humans, nearly all physiological processes are subject to daily oscillations that are governed by acircadian timing system with a complex hierarchical structure. The central pacemaker, residing in the suprachiasmatic nucleus(SCN) of the ventral hypothalamus, is synchronized daily by photic cues transmitted from the retina to SCN neurons via theretinohypothalamic tract. In turn, the SCN must establish phase coherence between self-sustained and cell-autonomousoscillators present in most peripheral cell types. The synchronization signals (Zeitgebers) can be controlled more or lessdirectly by the SCN. In mice and rats, feeding-fasting rhythms, which are driven by the SCN through rest-activity cycles, are the most potent Zeitgebers for the circadian oscillators of peripheral organs. Signaling through the glucocorticoid receptorand the serum response factor also participate in the phase entrainment of peripheral clocks, and these two pathwaysare controlled by the SCN independently of feeding-fasting rhythms. Body temperature rhythms, governed by the SCNdirectly and indirectly through rest-activity cycles, are perhaps the most surprising cues for peripheral oscillators. Althoughthe molecular makeup of circadian oscillators is nearly identical in all cells, these oscillators are used for different purposes inthe SCN and in peripheral organs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st Century Genetics Genes at Work, 2015
EditorsTerri Grodzicker, Bruce Stillman, David Stewart
PublisherCold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781621821472
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Event21st Century Genetics Genes at Work, 2015 - Huntington, United States
Duration: 26 May 201531 May 2015

Publication series

NameCold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology
ISSN (Print)0091-7451
ISSN (Electronic)1943-4456


Conference21st Century Genetics Genes at Work, 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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