2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The 2017 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for their elucidation of the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythm.  Their pioneering work in Drosophila uncovered the internal oscillators, or clocks, that synchronise cellular metabolism and organismal behaviour to the light/dark cycle to generate biological rhythms with 24 hour periodicity.

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News and Comments


  • Nature Structural and Molecular Biology | Article

    Genetic and biochemical assays reveal that carbon monoxide produced by heme catabolism influences circadian rhythm in mammals by altering the activity of transcription factor CLOCK–BMAL1 at clock-gene targets.

    • Roman Klemz
    • , Silke Reischl
    • , Thomas Wallach
    • , Nicole Witte
    • , Karsten Jürchott
    • , Sabrina Klemz
    • , Veronika Lang
    • , Stephan Lorenzen
    • , Miriam Knauer
    • , Steffi Heidenreich
    • , Min Xu
    • , Jürgen A Ripperger
    • , Michael Schupp
    • , Ralf Stanewsky
    •  &  Achim Kramer
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    The effect of the liver clock is modified by food entrainment via Bmal1/Clock core machinery. Here the authors show that insulin promotes postprandial Akt-dependent phosphorylation of Bmal1, resulting in association with 14-3-3 and Bmal1 shuttling out of the nucleus, thereby disrupting Bmal1 transcriptional effects on the clock.

    • Fabin Dang
    • , Xiujie Sun
    • , Xiang Ma
    • , Rong Wu
    • , Deyi Zhang
    • , Yaqiong Chen
    • , Qian Xu
    • , Yuting Wu
    •  &  Yi Liu
  • Nature Neuroscience | Brief Communication

    This study finds that mice's biological clocks are permanently influenced by the seasonal photoperiod at and after birth. In mice raised under summer-like light periods, rhythmic gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus was tightly correlated with lights-off under both summer- and winter-like cycles. In 'winter-born' mice, these rhythms were tightly correlated only under winter-like light cycles.

    • Christopher M Ciarleglio
    • , John C Axley
    • , Benjamin R Strauss
    • , Karen L Gamble
    •  &  Douglas G McMahon
  • Nature Communications | Article | open

    Circadian rhythms and related behaviours vary across individuals. Here, a large genome-wide association study reveals common single nucleotide variants influencing whether an individual reports as being a ‘morning person’ by identifying 15 significant loci, including 7 near known circadian genes.

    • Youna Hu
    • , Alena Shmygelska
    • , David Tran
    • , Nicholas Eriksson
    • , Joyce Y. Tung
    •  &  David A. Hinds
  • Nature Microbiology | Article

    Trypanosoma brucei, which is responsible for human sleeping sickness, has an intrinsic circadian clock that regulates metabolism and influences drug sensitivity.

    • Filipa Rijo-Ferreira
    • , Daniel Pinto-Neves
    • , Nuno L. Barbosa-Morais
    • , Joseph S. Takahashi
    •  &  Luisa M. Figueiredo


  • Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology | Review

    The circadian clock plays a central part in the regulation of liver function. In this Review, Tahara and Shibata discuss the mechanisms by which the circadian clock controls hepatic metabolism and the processing of xenobiotics, and how clock dysfunction can influence liver disease.

    • Yu Tahara
    •  &  Shigenobu Shibata
  • Nature Neuroscience | Perspective

    This perspective discusses the role of epigenetic mechanisms in regulating circadian rhythms, and emphasizes that the role of peripheral machinery is key for a fuller understanding of this regulation.

    • Selma Masri
    •  &  Paolo Sassone-Corsi
  • Nature Structural and Molecular Biology | Review

    Clock proteins are controlled by multiple post-translational modifications during the circadian cycle. In this Review, the authors examine how post-translational modifications influence the stability, interactions and activity of mammalian clock proteins and how they contribute to proper clock function or are altered in circadian disorders.

    • Arisa Hirano
    • , Ying-Hui Fu
    •  &  Louis J Ptáček
  • Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology | Opinion

    What is the driving force behind periodic biological oscillations such as the circadian, hibernation and sleep–wake cycles? Temporal compartmentalization of metabolism has been shown in budding yeast, and might form the underlying basis for many of the rhythmic phenomena in biology.

    • Benjamin P. Tu
    •  &  Steven L. McKnight
  • Nature Reviews Rheumatology | Review

    Circadian rhythms are well established as having an important role in human biology. In this Review, circadian biology is presented in reference to the regulation of rheumatoid arthritis and the potential for chronotherapeutic intervention.

    • Frank Buttgereit
    • , Josef S. Smolen
    • , Andrew N. Coogan
    •  &  Christian Cajochen