Cytosine modifications exhibit circadian oscillations that are involved in epigenetic diversity and aging

Nat Commun. 2018 Feb 13;9(1):644. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03073-7.


Circadian rhythmicity governs a remarkable array of fundamental biological functions and is mediated by cyclical transcriptomic and proteomic activities. Epigenetic factors are also involved in this circadian machinery; however, despite extensive efforts, detection and characterization of circadian cytosine modifications at the nucleotide level have remained elusive. In this study, we report that a large proportion of epigenetically variable cytosines show a circadian pattern in their modification status in mice. Importantly, the cytosines with circadian epigenetic oscillations significantly overlap with the cytosines exhibiting age-related changes in their modification status. Our findings suggest that evolutionary advantageous processes such as circadian rhythmicity can also contribute to an organism's deterioration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Cytosine / metabolism*
  • DNA Methylation / genetics*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Proteomics
  • Transcriptome


  • Cytosine