Characterization of Circadian Rhythms in the Mouse Intestine
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Circadian clocks drive rhythmic gene expression to enable biological functions to perform optimally at the most appropriate time of day. Circadian rhythms rely on the binding of the transcription factor CLOCK:BMAL1 to specific DNA binding sites, causing both tissue-specific and time-specific rhythmic gene expression and protein synthesis. It is biologically efficient to have tissue-specific rhythm for tissue-specific functions, such as digestion within the small intestine. Physiological rhythms in the small intestine have been well described, but it is still unclear how the molecular clock regulates gene expression at the genome wide level. In my project, I will set up techniques to efficiently determine rhythmicity in the intestine through RNA extraction and mRNA analysis using quantitative PCR. I will also determine the genes targeted by CLOCK:BMAL1 using the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) method. This protocol will then be used to characterize the genes that are rhythmically expressed in different regions of the intestinal tract through quantitative real-time PCR. Completion of my project will enable the lab to examine more precisely how the circadian clock controls the rhythmic digestion in mammals, and will represent a strong foundation for further studies that will examine the role of rhythmic feeding behavior in the biology of the intestine.
Heravi, Amin (2016). Characterization of Circadian Rhythms in the Mouse Intestine. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from