Circadian rhythms that function in behaviour and physiology have adaptive significance for living organisms from bacteria to humans and reflect the presence of a biological clock. The engine of circadian rhythms is a transcription-translation feedback loop that is fine-tuned by epigenetic regulation in higher eukaryotes. We elucidated the chromatin structure of the Bmal1 gene, a critical component of the mammalian clock system, and have continued to investigate transcriptional regulation including DNA methylation. Various ailments including metabolic diseases can disrupt circadian rhythms, and many human diseases are associated with altered DNA methylation. Therefore, regulated circadian rhythms are important for human health. Here, we summarise the importance of epigenetic clock gene regulation, including DNA methylation of the Bmal1 gene, from the viewpoint of relationships to diseases.
Part of the book: Chromatin and Epigenetics