Regulation of Rhythmic Gene Expression in Mammals
Most organisms from bacteria to humans exhibit endogenous 24-hours (circadian) rhythms . Best exemplified by the sleep/wake cycle, these rhythms are remarkably widespread and include hormonal, metabolic, physiological and behavioral oscillations. These rhythms have a remarkable adaptive value as they enable most biological functions to perform optimally at the most appropriate time of the day.
Circadian rhythms are generated by “molecular clocks” that drive the rhythmic expression of thousands of genes throughout the body. The wide impact of rhythmic gene expression on the regulation of biological functions is underscored by the surprisingly large number of pathologies developed by organisms having a genetically or environmentally disrupted clock. In addition to
being arrhythmic, they indeed develop pathologies as diverse as mania-like behaviors, learning and memory defects, depression, drug addiction, insomnia, metabolic diseases, arthropathy, hematopoiesis defects and cancers.
Research in the Menet lab aims at characterizing how circadian clocks and clock genes regulate gene expression to provide insights into how and why clock dysfuntion leads to a wide spectra of pathologies. To this end, we are using a wide-range of molecular, biochemical and physiological approaches to investigate the circadian clock function at the genome-wide level in mouse. Our current projects focus more particularly on:
1) how clock genes rhythmically regulate the chromatin environment,
2) how rhythmic food intake contributes to driving rhythmic gene expression,
3) how alternative polyadenylation, i.e., a mechanism that generates RNAs with different 3' ends, shapes cycling transcriptomes.
December 2020: Ben's latest paper on how alternative polyadenylation regulates rhythmic gene expression has been deposited to Biorxiv.
December 2020: Xinyu Nie joins the lab for her Ph.D. Welcome Xinyu!!
June 2020: Ben wins the Aggieland RNA Salon Research Award! Congrats Ben!!
February 2020: Ben successfully defended his Ph.D. Congrats Ben!
October 2019: Ben presented at the TAMU Student/Postdoc Research Conference (SPRC) 2019 meeting. Great talk on his new project!
September 2019: Josh successfully defended his Ph.D. Congrats Josh!
January 2019: Aishwarya joins the lab!
Greenwell BJ, Beytebiere JR, Lamb T, Bell-Pedersen D, Merlin C, Menet JS. (2020) Isoform-specific regulation of rhythmic gene expression by alternative polyadenylation. Biorxiv. doi: 10.1101/2020.12.12.422514.
Lugena AB, Zhang Y, Menet JS, Merlin C. (2019) Genome-wide discovery of the daily transcriptome, DNA regulatory elements and transcription factor occupancy in the monarch butterfly brain. PLoS Genet. 15(7):e1008265.