The circadian clock gene Per1 suppresses cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth at specific times of day

Chronobiol Int. 2009 Oct;26(7):1323-39. doi: 10.3109/07420520903431301.


Cell cycle progression is tightly regulated. The expressions of cell cycle regulators, the products of which either promote or inhibit cell proliferation, oscillate during each cell cycle. Cellular proliferation and the expression of cell cycle regulators are also controlled by the circadian clock. Disruption of the circadian clock may thereby lead to deregulated cell proliferation. Mammalian Per2 is a core clock gene, the product of which suppresses cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth in vivo and in vitro. Because Per1, another key clock gene, is mutated in human breast cancers, and because its clock functions are similar and complementary to those of Per2, we have studied its role in modulating breast cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth. We find that breast cancer growth rate is gated by the circadian clock with two daily peaks and troughs, and that they are coupled to the daily expression patterns of clock-controlled genes that regulate cell proliferation. Down-regulation of the expression of tumor Per1 increases cancer cell growth in vitro and tumor growth in vivo by enhancing the circadian amplitude of the two daily tumor growth peaks. The data of the study suggest Per1 has tumor-suppressor function that diminishes cancer proliferation and tumor growth, but only at specific times of day.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / physiopathology
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / physiopathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Period Circadian Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics*
  • Period Circadian Proteins / physiology
  • Photoperiod
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transfection


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Dbp protein, mouse
  • Per1 protein, mouse
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transcription Factors