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FEBS Lett. 2004 Jun 1;567(1):49-54.

Circadian clocks and natural antisense RNA.

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  • 1School of Biological Sciences, Smith Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


Eukaryotes regulate gene expression in a number of different ways. On a daily and seasonal timescale, the orchestration of gene expression is to a large extent governed by circadian clocks. These endogenous timekeepers enable organisms to prepare for predictable environmental conditions from one day to the next and thus allow adaptation to a given temporal niche. In general, circadian clocks have been shown to employ the classical transcriptional and posttranscriptional control mechanisms to generate rhythmicity. However, the discovery of antisense clock gene transcripts suggests that mechanisms of gene regulation operating through antisense RNA may also be integral to the circadian clockwork. Following a brief history of the impact of genetic and molecular techniques in aiding our understanding of circadian clocks, this review concentrates on the few examples of antisense clock gene transcripts so far investigated and their effect on circadian timing.

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