About the Musiek Lab’s Research
In 2015, I joined the Musiek Lab at Washington University’s Medical School in St. Louis as a Research Associate. The Musiek Lab is a circadian or clock lab. The circadian clock regulates the time cycle of the human system.
The Musiek Lab specifically focuses on how the circadian clock affects the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration (e.g. Alzheimer’s) in the mammalian brain. We also study how the clock system regulates oxidative stress and neuroinflammation.
The research here is an overview into the science behind the clock mechanism and also a way for me to display the amount of background research that goes into science experiments.
What is a Feedback Loop?
A feedback loop is a communication system between the genes in our body.
A primary clock feedback loop includes:
- CLOCK & BMAL1
- Members of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH)-PAS (Period-Arnt-Single-minded) transcription factor family
- Initiate transcription of target genes Period (Per1, Per2, and Per3) and Cryptochrome (Cry1 and Cry2)
- Negative feedback PER:CRY heterodimers repress their own trancription
In the primary feedback loop, the positive elements include CLOCK and BMAL1, which heterodimerize to form a complex that undergoes translocation in the nucleus and then initates transcription of target genes like Per1, Per2, Per3, Cry1, and Cry2. The negative feedback involves the Per:Cry heterodimers to translocate back to nucleus to repress their own transcription by inhibiting the activity of the clock:bmal1 complexes.
What role do Feedback Loops have in affecting the Circadian System?
Watch the video to find out!
ideo above is an active feedback loop illustrating the mechanism and communication of genes that run the Circadian System. Made to educate people on CR
Caroline H. Ko and Joseph S. Takahashi
Molecular components of the mammalian circadian clock
Hum. Mol. Genet. (2006) 15 (suppl 2): R271-R277 doi:10.1093/hmg/ddl207