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Genet Res Int. 2012;2012:845429. doi: 10.1155/2012/845429. Epub 2012 Mar 18.

Epigenetic Control of Circadian Clock Operation during Development.

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  • 1National Key Laboratory of Virology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Luojia Hill, Wuchang District, Hubei, Wuhan 430072, China.


The molecular players of circadian clock oscillation have been identified and extensively characterized. The epigenetic mechanisms behind the circadian gene expression control has also been recently studied, although there are still details to be illucidated. In this review, we briefly summarize the current understanding of the mammalian clock. We also provide evidence for the lack of circadian oscillation in particular cell types. As the circadian clock has intimate interaction with the various cellular functions in different type of cells, it must have plasticity and specicity in its operation within different epigenetic environments. The lack of circadian oscillation in certain cells provide an unique opportunity to study the required epigenetic environment in the cell that permit circadian oscillation and to idenfify key influencing factors for proper clock function. How epigenetic mechansims, including DNA methylaiton and chromatin modifications, participate in control of clock oscillation still awaits future studies at the genomic scale.

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