Scientists Redraw the Blueprint of the Body’s Biological Clock

ScienceDaily (Apr. 5, 2012) — The discovery of a major gear in the biological clock that tells the body when to sleep and metabolize food may lead to new drugs to treat sleep problems and metabolic disorders, including diabetes.

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, led by Ronald M. Evans, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory, showed that two cellular switches found on the nucleus of mouse cells, known as REV-ERBα and REV-ERBβ, are essential for maintaining normal sleeping and eating cycles and for metabolism of nutrients from food.

The findings, reported March 29 inNature, describe a powerful link between circadian rhythms and metabolism and suggest a new avenue for treating disorders of both systems, including jet lag, sleep disorders, obesity and diabetes. Read more