Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Collaborative Research Center for Theoretical Biology

The role of the circadian clock in tumour development/progression

Tumour development is a multi-step process, in which successive genetic alterations of normal cells lead to the generation of their malignant derivatives. During that process, cell- and tissuespecific mechanisms are successfully deactivated, which normally inhibit tumour development and tumour progression. Is the daily coordination of cellular physiology by circadian clocks one of those anti-tumour mechanisms? Recent evidence support such an assumption: (i) the circadian clock and/or some of its key components act as a tumour suppressor on a molecular as well as systemic level; (ii) the cell cycle is directly regulated by the circadian clock through transcriptional control of cell cycle regulators. The molecular mechanisms, by which the circadian clock acts in a tumour-suppressive manner, are largely unknown. By using cellular model systems combined with mathematical modelling approaches, this project aims to uncover such mechanisms.

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