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J Biol Rhythms. 2004 Oct;19(5):388-99.

Clock genes in cell clocks: roles, actions, and mysteries.

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Department of Brain Sciences, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Kobe, Japan.


Cellular events must be organized in the time dimension as well as in the space dimension for many proteins to perform their cellular functions effectively. The intracellular molecular oscillating loops that compose the cell's circadian clock coordinate the timing of the expression of a variety of genes with basic or specific cellular functions. In mammals, the temporal pattern of clock gene expression generated in each SCN neuron is coupled to those of other cells and, amplified, spreads its signals through the brain and then, via feeding behavior, glucocorticoids, and sympathetic nerves, to peripheral organs. These peripheral organs have their own circadian clocks. In some tissues, such as liver, there is also a clock-regulating cell cycle, which interacts strongly with the components and temporal organization of the circadian clock. Some tissues, however, such as testis, express clock genes whose function, if any, remains unclear. Furthermore, circadian clock function may be suspended in differentiating tissue. Thus, the prominence of circadian organization may not apply equally to all tissues under all conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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