In mammals, all overt circadian rhythms are thought to be coordinated by a central pacemaker residing in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) . The phase of this pacemaker is entrained by photic cues via the retino-hypothalamic tract. Circadian clocks probably rely on a feedback loop in the expression of certain clock genes (reviewed in [2,3]). Surprisingly, however, such molecular oscillators are not only operative in pacemaker cells, such as SCN neurons, but also in many peripheral tissues and even in cell lines kept in vitro [4-7]. For example, a serum shock can induce circadian gene expression in cultured Rat-1 fibroblasts . This treatment also results in a rapid surge of expression of the clock genes Per1 and Per2, similar to that observed in the SCNs of animals receiving a light pulse [8-10]. Serum induction of Per1 and Per2 transcription does not require ongoing protein synthesis  and must therefore be accomplished by direct signaling pathways. Here, we show that cAMP, protein kinase C, glucocorticoid hormones and Ca2+ can all trigger a transient surge of Per1 transcription and elicit rhythmic gene expression in Rat-1 cells. We thus suspect that the SCN pacemaker may exploit multiple chemical cues to synchronize peripheral oscillators in vivo.