BACKGROUND Brain and muscle Arnt-like protein-1 (BMAL1; also known as MOP3 or Arnt1) is a basic helix-loop-helix-PAS domain containing transcription factor and a core component of the circadian clock (1). BMAL1 gene expression is necessary for the establishment of circadian rhythms under free-running conditions (2). BMAL1 KO mice have a significant disruption of the normal diurnal distribution of NREM and REM sleep over the light-dark cycle (3), suggesting that BMAL1 is necessary for time-of-day dependent behavior even in the presence of a zeitgeber. BMAL1 expression has also been shown to be affected by sleep loss (4), and can influence the homeostatic response to sleep deprivation (3) and certain aspects of memory formation (5). In addition to sleep and memory, core molecular clock mechanisms influence synaptic plasticity, further evidence for a neurophysiological role outside of the establishment of circadian locomotor rhythms (6).
1. Ko CH, et al. Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Oct 15; 15 Spec No 2():R271-7.
2. Bunger MK, et al. Cell. 2000 Dec 22; 103(7):1009-17.
3. Laposky A, et al. Sleep. 2005 Apr; 28(4):395-409.
4. Maret S, et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Dec 11; 104(50):20090-5.
5. Kondratova AA, et al. Aging (Albany NY). 2010 May; 2(5):285-97.
6. Gerstner JR, et al. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Aug; 11(8):577-88.
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