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J Invest Dermatol. 2000 Oct;115(4):757-60.

Expression of the circadian clock genes clock and period1 in human skin.

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  • 1Vitamin D, Bone and Skin Laboratory, Departments of Medicine, Physiology and Dermatology, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The circadian clock is a cellular machine composed of proteins with regulated expression that gives rise to circadian rhythms. Two main new concepts have arisen from recent research in the field in the last few years: (i) at least three to five key genes are involved in maintaining the basic circadian cellular rhythms, and (ii) their expression is fairly ubiquitous, extending beyond the traditionally considered pacemaker in mammals, the suprachiasmatic nucleus. We have demonstrated the expression of two circadian clock genes, clock and period1, in human skin cells. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction revealed the presence of clock and period1 mRNA in cultured human keratinocytes, melanocytes, and dermal fibroblasts, as well as in the human keratinocyte cell line HaCaT and the human melanoma line A375. In addition, antibodies to these two proteins produced immuno-positive staining in these cell types. Our investigations demonstrate for the first time that skin cells express circadian clock proteins constitutively although regulation of their expression and activity has not been elucidated. These proteins may have a role in cutaneous and/or systemic circadian biology and the skin and skin cells may provide an attractive model for the study of circadian rhythms.

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