Each day, the gastrointestinal tract encounters an influx of microbial and nutrient-derived signals and its physiological activities often adhere to a circadian rhythm. As such, group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) that reside in the intestinal mucosa must function within a highly dynamic environment. In this Progress article, we highlight a series of recent reports that have characterized the circadian clock in ILC3s. We discuss how these studies have illustrated the roles of environmental cues and clock genes in regulating ILC3 biology and consider the implications for intestinal immunity.
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Microbial circadian clocks: host-microbe interplay in diel cycles
BMC Microbiology Open Access 09 May 2023
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The authors thank S. Gilfillan and B. Bhattarai for helpful feedback. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants AI095542, DE025884, AI134236 and AI134035 (to M.C.) and T32 GM007200 (to Q.W.). M.C. receives research support from Pfizer, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and an anonymous donor in New York.
M.C. receives research support from Pfizer. Q.W. declares no competing interests.
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Synchronization of the endogenous clock to the period of an external oscillation (zeitgeber).
- Phase advance
A shift in the organism’s circadian rhythm such that it starts earlier. For the studies reviewed here, this is achieved through advance in the light schedule or earlier onset of light.
- Suprachiasmatic nucleus
(SCN). A group of neurons in the ventral hypothalamus that serve as the circadian pacemaker.
(Literally, ‘timegivers’). Any external time cues capable of entraining an organism.
- Zeitgeber time
(ZT). A unit of time defined with reference to entraining environmental cues. In many cases, the zeitgeber time is designated in reference to light, with ZT0 denoting onset of light and ZT12 denoting onset of darkness.
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Wang, Q., Colonna, M. Keeping time in group 3 innate lymphoid cells. Nat Rev Immunol 20, 720–726 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41577-020-0397-z
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