News of the WeekCircadian Rhythms

A Time to Rest: Clock Signal Identified

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Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2453
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5551.2453a

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Researchers have made tremendous progress recently in identifying the molecular gears and levers that run the circadian clock, but they have remained in the dark about the signals it sends out to control circadian behaviors. Now, on page 2511, a team of researchers reports that it has discovered the first known output signal from the mammalian clock, a molecule called transforming growth factor alpha, known for its role in cancer and embryonic development. The work opens the way for clock researchers to begin to study the neural circuits by which the clock controls behavior and physiology.