The Odd Couple: Cancer and the Circadian Clock
Circadian rhythms are processes which allows animals to regulate their physiology based on time of day. These rhythms are controlled by the circadian clock, a group of transcription factors that form a feedback loop. Over 40% of the genome is transcribed rhythmically, implicating the clock in many physiological processes. The cell cycle is another process which takes ~24h to complete in mammals. This is due to several checkpoints which are present to prevent the cell from precocious progression leading to DNA damage. The clock and the cell cycle have been proposed to be linked but this remains controversial. Unregulated passage through cell cycle checkpoints can lead to cancer formation. The proposed research will use the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique to observe the potential link between the clock and the cell cycle in intestinal organoids. This research may allow for the development of novel targets in cancer therapies.