Editors' ChoiceCircadian Rhythms

Revving Up the Circadian Clock

Science's STKE  21 Feb 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 323, pp. tw73
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3232006tw73

In mammals, circadian rhythms regulate many aspects of behavior and physiology, including sleep-wake cycles and metabolism. Disruption of these rhythms is associated with certain psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder. Yin et al. describe a potential molecular link between circadian clock control and bipolar disorder. In cultured fibroblasts, a key negative regulator of clock gene expression, the Rev-erbα nuclear receptor, was rapidly degraded after exposure to lithium, which is used in treating bipolar disorder. This destabilization of Rev-erbα led to activation of clock genes.

L. Yin, J. Wang, P. S. Klein, M. A. Lazar, Nuclear receptor Rev-erbα is a critical lithium-sensitive component of the circadian clock. Science 311, 1002-1005 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]