Transcriptional architecture of the mammalian circadian clock

Nat Rev Genet. 2017 Mar;18(3):164-179. doi: 10.1038/nrg.2016.150. Epub 2016 Dec 19.


Circadian clocks are endogenous oscillators that control 24-hour physiological and behavioural processes in organisms. These cell-autonomous clocks are composed of a transcription-translation-based autoregulatory feedback loop. With the development of next-generation sequencing approaches, biochemical and genomic insights into circadian function have recently come into focus. Genome-wide analyses of the clock transcriptional feedback loop have revealed a global circadian regulation of processes such as transcription factor occupancy, RNA polymerase II recruitment and initiation, nascent transcription, and chromatin remodelling. The genomic targets of circadian clocks are pervasive and are intimately linked to the regulation of metabolism, cell growth and physiology.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics*
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics*
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • RNA Polymerase II