Circadian Time Redoxed

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Science  17 Aug 2012:
Vol. 337, Issue 6096, pp. 805-806
DOI: 10.1126/science.1227203

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In all living cells, oxidation and reduction (redox) processes occur as potentially harmful oxidizing or reducing agents (free radicals), such as nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), accumulate as by-products of metabolism. In response, biologically active molecules quickly stabilize the relative concentrations of these redox agents. Although redox processes have been associated with cellular housekeeping and homeostasis, recent research has provided a new twist on cellular redox states, linking them to the intrinsic daily (circadian) clock (14). On page 839 in this issue, T. A. Wang et al. (5) show that the molecular circadian clock and redox states regulate the electrical activity of the neurons that comprise the mammalian central circadian clock.