Circadian clocks: neural and peripheral pacemakers that impact upon the cell division cycle

Mutat Res. 2005 Jul 1;574(1-2):76-91. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2005.01.024. Epub 2005 Apr 15.


Circadian clocks are pervasive entities that allow organisms to maintain rhythms of approximately 24h, independently of external cues, thereby adapting them to the solar cycle. Recent studies have shown that molecular circadian clocks are important for the proper orchestration of the cell division cycle. For the first time, this provides a framework to understand the interactions between these two evolutionarily linked timers. Here we review the current model of the circadian clock and the molecular methods that can be used to investigate its function. We then map out links to the cell cycle at the cellular level. Furthermore, we review recent progress that has linked dysfunction of the clockwork with the pathogenesis of cancer. Disruption of circadian timing (as occurs in jet-lag, shift work and dementia) thus has far reaching consequences for normal regulation of cell division. The implications of this for the health of a "24-h society" are apparent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Disease Progression
  • Feedback
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Organ Specificity
  • Rats
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic