Systems biology of mammalian circadian clocks

Annu Rev Physiol. 2010;72:579-603. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-073109-130051.


Systems biology is a natural extension of molecular biology; it can be defined as biology after identification of key gene(s). Systems-biological research is a multistage process beginning with (a) the comprehensive identification and (b) quantitative analysis of individual system components and their networked interactions, which lead to the ability to (c) control existing systems toward the desired state and (d) design new ones based on an understanding of the underlying structure and dynamical principles. In this review, we use the mammalian circadian clock as a model system and describe the application of systems-biological approaches to fundamental problems in this model. This application has allowed the identification of transcriptional/posttranscriptional circuits, the discovery of a temperature-insensitive period-determining process, and the discovery of desynchronization of individual clock cells underlying the singularity behavior of mammalian clocks.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks / genetics*
  • Biological Clocks / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Systems Biology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology