Circadian clocks are 24-h timekeeping mechanisms, which have evolved in plants, animals, fungi and bacteria to anticipate changes in light and temperature associated with the rotation of the Earth. The current paradigm to explain how biological clocks provide timing information is based on multiple interlocking transcription-translation negative feedback loops (TTFL), which drive rhythmic gene expression and circadian behaviour of growth and physiology. Metabolism is an important circadian output, which in plants includes photosynthesis, starch metabolism, nutrient assimilation and redox homeostasis. There is increasing evidence in a range of organisms that these metabolic outputs can also contribute to circadian timing and might also comprise independent circadian oscillators. In this review, we summarise the mechanisms of circadian regulation of metabolism by TTFL and consider increasing evidence that rhythmic metabolism contributes to the circadian network. We highlight how this might be relevant to plant circadian clock function.
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