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Researchers identify key components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles
Date:1/14/2014

CINCINNATIResearchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have identified key molecular components linking circadian rhythms and cell division cycles in Neurospora crassa, providing insights that could lead to improved disease treatments and drug delivery.

The researchers in the UC College of Medicine Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, led by Christian Hong, PhD, published their findings Monday, Jan. 13, online ahead of print in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

"Our work has large implications for the general understanding of the connection between the cell cycle and the circadian clock," says Hong, an assistant professor in the molecular and cellular physiology department who collaborated with an international team of researchers on the project.

The circadian rhythm, often referred to as the biological clock, is a cycle of biological activity based on a 24-hour period and generated by an internal clock synchronized to light-dark cycles and other external cues.

"Everything has a schedule, and we are interested in understanding these schedules at a molecular level," Hong says. "We also wanted to know the components that connect two different oscillators (the circadian clock and cell division, or mitosis)."

Using the filamentous (thread-like) fungi Neurospora crassa, the researchers investigated the coupling between the cell cycle and the circadian clock using mathematical modeling and experimentally validated model-driven predictions. They demonstrated a mechanism that is conserved (constant) in Neurospora as in mammals, which results in circadian clock-gated mitotic cycles.

"The cell divisions happened during a certain time of day," Hong says, "and they were molecularly regulated by the mechanisms of circadian rhythms."

The researchers showed that a conserved coupling between the circadian clock and the cell cy
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Contact: Keith Herrell
keith.herrell@uc.edu
513-558-4559
University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Source:Eurekalert

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