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Molecular biology of biological clock--genetic regulation of circadian rhythm and sleep

, : Molecular biology of biological clock--genetic regulation of circadian rhythm and sleep. No to Hattatsu. Brain and Development 38(4): 247-252

Circadian rhythm is a universal biological property functioning in most living species on the earth from bacteria and plants to animals. The molecular mechanisms creating this rhythm have recently been elucidated and the transcriptional feedback loop regulation of 'clock genes' is regarded as essential for all species studied so far. Both mammals and insects share the similar clock genes, which highlights the long conservation of circadian rhythm at the genetic level. Sleep and arousal cycles in mammals are known to be regulated by both homeostatic and circadian processes, but the genetic machinery for sleep regulation is still unclear. Recently, it has been reported that insects also have sleep-like behavior, and we showed that insects use dopamine as a regulator of their sleep/arousal cycling, which strongly suggests the similarity of arousal regulation between insects and mammals at the molecular level. In this review, these recent advancements of the molecular understanding of circadian rhythm and sleep/arousal regulation are outlined.


PMID: 16859185

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