Sub-Project 2:

Entrainment in mice

Humans share most of the basic properties of circadian timing, including the capacity for selfsustained circadian organisation, entrainment by and phase response to light stimuli with animals. This holds also for the physiological and molecular organisation of circadian oscillators. Thus, we can learn much from animal models of circadian organisation, in particular from other mammals. Our goal is to obtain thorough insight in the responses of mice to entraining light and social signals at the behavioural, physiological and molecular-genetic levels - as a template for understanding the human circadian condition. The Sub-Project focuses on the two systems that primarily control circadian rhythmicity in the mouse. Firstly, the central pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Light is the primary zeitgeber entraining the SCN and thereby behavioural rhythms. Secondly, the liver and other organs with autonomous circadian oscillators now appear to be entrained by feeding behaviour. As long as the animal is free to feed at any time, the whole system is entrained by light via the sequence eyes – SCN – feeding behaviour – peripheral oscillator. When feeding is restricted to other phases than chosen spontaneously, dys-entrainment between central and peripheral rhythmicity ensues.

Sub-Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Urs Albrecht, University of Fribourg, Division of Biochemistry


  • Prof. Dr. Serge Daan (Deputy Leader), University of Groningen, Chronobiology
  • Prof. Dr. Domien Beersma, University of Groningen, Chronobiology



Bendov? Z., Sumov? A.: Circadian rhythmicity of rPER1 and rPER2 in rat peripheral tissue. Physiol. Res. 55: 623-632 (2006)
Comas, M, D.G.M.Beersma, K.Spoelstra, S.Daan: Phase and period responses of the circadian system of mice (Mus musculus) to light stimuli of different duration. J.biol.Rhythms 21:362-372 (2006)
Feillet, C.A., Ripperger, J.A., Magnone, M.C., Dulloo, A., Albrecht, U., and Challet, E. Lack of food anticipation in Per2 mutant mice. Curr Biol 16, 2016-2022 (2006).
Kov?čikov? Z., Sl?dek M., Bendov? Z., Illnerov? H., Sumov? A.: Expression of clock and clock-driven genes in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus during late fetal and early postnatal development J. Biol. Rhythms 21: 140-148 (2006)
Kiyohara YB, Tagao S, Tamanini F, Morita A, Sugisawa Y, Yasuda M,Yamanaka I, Ueda HR, van der Horst GT, Kondo T, Yagita K. TheBMAL1 C terminus regulates the circadian transcription feedback loop.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103:10074-9 (2006)
Lincoln GA, Clarke IJ, Hut RA, Hazlerigg DG: Characterising a circannual pacemaker in Soay sheep. Science 31:1941-1944 (2006)
Oster H, Damerow S, Hut RA, Eichele G.: Global circadian gene expression in the mouse adrenal gland. Journal of Biological Rhythms 21:350-361 (2006)
Rohling, J., Wolters, L., Meijer, J.H., Simulation of day-length encoding in the SCN: from single-cell to tissue-level organization. J. Biol. Rhythms, 4 301-13 (2006)
Sumov? A., Bendov? Z., Sl?dek M., El-Hennamy R., Laurinov? K., Jindr?kov? Z., Illnerov? H.: The setting the biological time in central and peripheral clocks during ontogenesis. Minireview. FEBS Letters 580: 2836-2842 (2006)


Albrecht U., Bordon A., Schmutz I. and Ripperger J. “The multiple facets of Per2”. Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology, Volume 72, in press.
Comas M, Beersma DG, Spoelstra K, Daan S. Circadian response reduction in light and response restoration in darkness: a "skeleton" light pulse PRC study in mice (Mus musculus). J Biol Rhythms 22:432-44, 2007.
Foster RG, Hankins MW, Peirson SN.Light, photoreceptors, and circadian clocks. Methods Mol Biol , 362:3-28, 2007.
Hankins MW, Peirson SN, Foster RG. Melanopsin: an exciting photopigment. Trends Neurosci., Dec 2, 2007.
Kornmann, B., Schaad, O., Bujard, H., Takahashi, J.S., and Schibler, U. (2007). System-driven and oscillator-dependent circadian transcription in mice with a conditionally active liver clock. PLoS Biol 5, e34.
Kornmann, B., Schaad, O., Reinke, H., Saini, C., and Schibler, U. (2008). Regulation of circadian gene expression in liver by systemic signals and hepatocyte oscillators. Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol 72, in press.
Long RA, Hut RA, Barnes BM. Simultaneous collection of body temperature and activity data in burrowing mammals: a new technique. Journal of Wildlife Management 71: 1375-1379, 2007.
Meijer JH, S. Michel, M.J. Vansteensel, Processing of daily and seasonal light information the mammalian circadian clock, General and Comparative Endocrinology. 152, 159-164, 2007.
Peirson SN, Oster H, Jones SL, Leitges M, Hankins MW, Foster RG. Microarray analysis and functional genomics identify novel components of melanopsin signaling. Curr Biol., 17(16):1363-72, 2007.
Pires SS, Shand J, Bellingham J, Arrese C, Turton M, Peirson S, Foster RG, Halford S., Isolation and characterization of melanopsin (Opn4) from the Australian marsupial Sminthopsis crassicaudata (fat-tailed dunnart). Proc Biol Sci., 274(1627):2791-9, 2007.
Reinke, H., Saini., C., Fleury-Olela, F., Dibner, C., J.J., B., and Schibler, U. (2008). Differential Display of DNA-Binding Proteins Reveals Heat Shock Factor 1 as a Circadian Transcription Factor. Genes Dev in press.
Rohling, J., Meijer, J.H., VanderLeest, H.T., and Admiraal, J., Phase differences in single unit electrical activity patterns underly photoperiodic encoding by the SCN, J. Neurophysiol. Paris, 261-270, 2007.
Sekaran S, Lall GS, Ralphs KL, Wolstenholme AJ, Lucas RJ, Foster RG, Hankins MW, 2-Aminoethoxydiphenylborane is an acute inhibitor of directly photosensitive retinal ganglion cell activity in vitro and in vivo. J Neurosci., 27(15):3981-6, 2007.
Sl?dek M., Jindr?kov? Z., Bendov? Z., Sumov? A.: Postnatal ontogenesis of the circadian clock within the rat liver. Am. J. Physiol. (Regul Integr Comp Physiol) 292: R1224-R1229, 2007
Sumov? A., Kov?čikov? Z., Illnerov? H.: Dynamics of the adjustment of clock gene expression in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus to an asymmetrical change from a long to a short photoperiod, J. Biol. Rhythms 22: 259-267, 2007.
VanderLeest, H.T., Houben, T., Michel, S., Deboer,T., Albus, H., Vansteensel, M.J., Block, G.D. and Meijer, J.H., Seasonal encoding by the circadian pacemaker of the SCN, Current Biol. 17, 468-473, 2007.
Vansteensel, M.J., Michel, S., and Meijer, J.J., Organization of cell and tissue circadian pacemakers: A comparison among species, Brain Res Rev. in press

Funded by

Euclock is an Integrated Project (Sixth Framework Programme) funded by the European Commission  

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