Intrinsic circadian clock of the mammalian retina: importance for retinal processing of visual information

Cell. 2007 Aug 24;130(4):730-741. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.06.045.


Circadian clocks are widely distributed in mammalian tissues, but little is known about the physiological functions of clocks outside the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain. The retina has an intrinsic circadian clock, but its importance for vision is unknown. Here we show that mice lacking Bmal1, a gene required for clock function, had abnormal retinal transcriptional responses to light and defective inner retinal electrical responses to light, but normal photoreceptor responses to light and retinas that appeared structurally normal by light and electron microscopy. We generated mice with a retina-specific genetic deletion of Bmal1, and they had defects of retinal visual physiology essentially identical to those of mice lacking Bmal1 in all tissues and lacked a circadian rhythm of inner retinal electrical responses to light. Our findings indicate that the intrinsic circadian clock of the retina regulates retinal visual processing in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • ARNTL Transcription Factors
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Electroretinography
  • Gene Deletion
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / physiology*
  • Retina / ultrastructure


  • ARNTL Transcription Factors
  • Bmal1 protein, mouse
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors