Circadian clocks enhance the efficiency and survival of living things by organizing their behavior and body functions. There has been a long history of research seeking a link between circadian clock and tumorigenesis. Studies of animal models and human tumor samples have revealed that the dysregulation of circadian clocks is an important endogenous factor causing mammalian cancer development. The core circadian clock regulators have been implicated in the control of both the cell cycle and DNA damage responses (DDR). Conversely, several intracellular signaling cascades that play important roles in regulation of the cell cycle and the DDR also contribute to circadian clock regulation. This review describes selected regulatory aspects of circadian clocks, providing evidence of a molecular link of the circadian clocks with cellular DDR.
Part of the book: Oncogenes and Carcinogenesis
Circadian clocks are intrinsic time-tracking systems that endow organisms with a survival advantage. The core of the circadian clock mechanism is a cell-autonomous and self-sustained oscillator called a cellular clock, which operates via a transcription-/translation-based negative feedback loop. Under natural conditions, circadian clocks are entrained to a 24-hour day by environmental time cues, most commonly light. In mammals, circadian clocks are regulated by cellular clocks located in the central nervous system, such as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), and in other peripheral tissues. Importantly, mammals have no photoreceptors in the peripheral tissues; therefore the effect of light on peripheral clocks is indirect. By striking contrast, zebrafish peripheral cellular clocks are directly light responsive. This characteristic of the zebrafish cellular clock has contributed to the identification of molecules and signaling pathways that are involved in the light-dependent regulation of the cellular clock. Here, selected light-dependent regulatory mechanisms of circadian clocks in mammals and zebrafish are described.
Part of the book: Chronobiology