Life is organized on a 24-hour schedule. Central to this regular rhythm is the circadian clock, timekeepers that are present in virtually every organ, tissue, and cell type. When a clock goes awry, sleep disruption or a variety of diseases can result. A recent Northwestern University discovery could help in understanding how this clock is linked to daily cycles. A team of neurobiologists has identified a gene, called Tango10, that is critical for daily behavioral rhythms. This gene is involved in a molecular pathway by which the core circadian clock (the “gears”) controls the cellular output of the clock (the “hands”) to control daily sleep-wake cycles.
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