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Special Issue "Molecular and Cellular Mechanisms of Synchronization within the Mammalian Circadian System"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Neurobiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giles E. Duffield
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA
Interests: circadian rhythms; entomology; metabolism; molecular clocks; neurobiology; photobiology
Prof. Dr. Charlotte von Gall
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Anatomy II, Medical Faculty, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Duesseldorf, Germany
Interests: circadian rhythms, neuroanatomy, suprachiasmatic nucleus, molecular clockwork, cicadian clock, photoentrainment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In mammals, many brain and body rhythms are driven by a circadian system. The circadian system comprises three key components, the circadian rhythm generator located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN); the input pathways entraining the SCN to rhythmic events in the environment, the so-called “zeitgeber”; and output pathways mediating rhythmic signals from the SCN to subordinate oscillators within the brain and the periphery. The most prominent zeitgeber adjusting SCN timing is the environmental light/dark cycle. Light is received by the retinal photoreceptors and transmitted to the SCN. However, food, reward and social interaction can also act as strong zeitgebers. Rhythmic cell function in the SCN, retina and subordinate oscillators is driven by a molecular clock, which is composed of transcriptional/translational feedback loops of clock genes acting as transcriptional regulators. The light-resetting mechanism of the SCN molecular clock involves the activation of kinases and transcription factors and the expression of clock genes such as the periods (Per). In addition to the zeitgeber effect, the external environment also exerts a direct effect upon brain and body rhythms, the so-called “masking effect”. This Special Issue is devoted to the various mechanisms of the synchronization of rhythmic behaviour and physiology.

Dr. Giles E. Duffield
Prof. Dr. Charlotte von Gall
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • circadian ryhthm
  • zeitgeber
  • masking
  • clock genes
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • retina
  • oscillator
  • entrainment
  • molecular clockwork

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle
Does a Red House Affect Rhythms in Mice with a Corrupted Circadian System?
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(5), 2288; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijms22052288 - 25 Feb 2021
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The circadian rhythms of body functions in mammals are controlled by the circadian system. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus orchestrates subordinate oscillators. Time information is conveyed from the retina to the SCN to coordinate an organism’s physiology and behavior with the [...] Read more.
The circadian rhythms of body functions in mammals are controlled by the circadian system. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus orchestrates subordinate oscillators. Time information is conveyed from the retina to the SCN to coordinate an organism’s physiology and behavior with the light/dark cycle. At the cellular level, molecular clockwork composed of interlocked transcriptional/translational feedback loops of clock genes drives rhythmic gene expression. Mice with targeted deletion of the essential clock gene Bmal1 (Bmal1−/−) have an impaired light input pathway into the circadian system and show a loss of circadian rhythms. The red house (RH) is an animal welfare measure widely used for rodents as a hiding place. Red plastic provides light at a low irradiance and long wavelength—conditions which affect the circadian system. It is not known yet whether the RH affects rhythmic behavior in mice with a corrupted circadian system. Here, we analyzed whether the RH affects spontaneous locomotor activity in Bmal1−/− mice under standard laboratory light conditions. In addition, mPER1- and p-ERK-immunoreactions, as markers for rhythmic SCN neuronal activity, and day/night plasma corticosterone levels were evaluated. Our findings indicate that application of the RH to Bmal1−/− abolishes rhythmic locomotor behavior and dampens rhythmic SCN neuronal activity. However, RH had no effect on the day/night difference in corticosterone levels. Full article
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