Clock genes and sleep

Dominic Landgraf, Anton Shostak, Henrik Oster*

*Corresponding author for this work
21 Citations (Scopus)


In most species-from cyanobacteria to humans-endogenous clocks have evolved that drive 24-h rhythms of behavior and physiology. In mammals, these circadian rhythms are regulated by a hierarchical network of cellular oscillators controlled by a set of clock genes organized in a system of interlocked transcriptional feedback loops. One of the most prominent outputs of the circadian system is the synchronization of the sleep-wake cycle with external (day-) time. Clock genes also have a strong impact on many other biological functions, such as memory formation, energy metabolism, and immunity. Remarkably, large overlaps exist between clock gene and sleep (loss) mediated effects on these processes. This review summarizes sleep clock gene interactions for these three phenomena, highlighting potential mediators linking sleep and/or clock function to physiological output in an attempt to better understand the complexity of diurnal adaptation and its consequences for health and disease.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2012


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