The circadian mode of cell division has been known for more than a century, but the association between circadian rhythms and mitosis is not yet clear. Synchronization of circadian oscillators with the outside world is achieved because light, or other external temporal cues, have acute effects on the levels of the clock's molecular components. Thus, an important question is whether environmental signals also affect transcription levels of cell machinery genes in a similar manner? In a microarray analysis, we have tested the influence of light pulses on the expression of transcripts in the mouse brain. Light pulses consistently affect transcription levels of genes that are essential and directly control the cell cycle mechanism, as well as levels of genes that are associated with the various cell cycle checkpoints. The changes in the levels and the direction of these changes could possibly lead to cell cycle arrest. We also found consistent changes in transcription levels of genes that are associated with tumorigenesis and are directly implicated with enhanced proliferation and metastasis.
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