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J Neurochem. 2004 Aug;90(4):769-75.

MAP kinases in the mammalian circadian system--key regulators of clock function.

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The Medical School, Swansea University, Swansea, UK.


Over the past 7 years, there has been spectacular progress in our understanding of the molecular basis of the circadian pacemaker in many species, from yeast to mammals. However, the biochemical signalling mechanisms that underpin synchronization of the clock to environmental cues are still poorly understood. Recently, attention has been focused on the role of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase in biological timekeeping. It has been proposed that signal transduction via the MAP kinase cascades allows environmental information to be assimilated intracellularly within the circadian clock to produce changes in the phasing of clock gene expression, which, in turn, underlies clock-controlled phase-resetting of biological rhythms. This review examines the evidence for MAP kinase, particularly extracellular regulated kinases 1/2, involvement in the circadian clock and looks at the putative upstream regulators and downstream substrates of this signalling system.

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