The systemic control of circadian gene expression

A. Gerber, C. Saini, T. Curie, Y. Emmenegger, G. Rando, P. Gosselin, I. Gotic, P. Gos, P. Franken, U. Schibler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


The mammalian circadian timing system consists of a central pacemaker in the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and subsidiary oscillators in nearly all body cells. The SCN clock, which is adjusted to geophysical time by the photoperiod, synchronizes peripheral clocks through a wide variety of systemic cues. The latter include signals depending on feeding cycles, glucocorticoid hormones, rhythmic blood-borne signals eliciting daily changes in actin dynamics and serum response factor (SRF) activity, and sensors of body temperature rhythms, such as heat shock transcription factors and the cold-inducible RNA-binding protein CIRP. To study these systemic signalling pathways, we designed and engineered a novel, highly photosensitive apparatus, dubbed RT-Biolumicorder. This device enables us to record circadian luciferase reporter gene expression in the liver and other organs of freely moving mice over months in real time. Owing to the multitude of systemic signalling pathway involved in the phase resetting of peripheral clocks the disruption of any particular one has only minor effects on the steady state phase of circadian gene expression in organs such as the liver. Nonetheless, the implication of specific pathways in the synchronization of clock gene expression can readily be assessed by monitoring the phase-shifting kinetics using the RT-Biolumicorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-32
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Issue numberS1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2015


  • Actin dynamics
  • Body temperature rhythms
  • Circadian clock
  • Feeding rhythms
  • Glucocorticoid hormones
  • Peripheral oscillators
  • Serum response factor (SRF)
  • Synchronization


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