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Genetics Research International
Volume 2012, Article ID 845429, 8 pages
Review Article

Epigenetic Control of Circadian Clock Operation during Development

National Key Laboratory of Virology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Luojia Hill, Wuchang District, Hubei, Wuhan 430072, China

Received 30 August 2011; Revised 22 December 2011; Accepted 13 January 2012

Academic Editor: Elfride De Baere

Copyright © 2012 Chengwei Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The molecular players of circadian clock oscillation have been identified and extensively characterized. The epigenetic mechanisms behind the circadian gene expression control has also been recently studied, although there are still details to be illucidated. In this review, we briefly summarize the current understanding of the mammalian clock. We also provide evidence for the lack of circadian oscillation in particular cell types. As the circadian clock has intimate interaction with the various cellular functions in different type of cells, it must have plasticity and specicity in its operation within different epigenetic environments. The lack of circadian oscillation in certain cells provide an unique opportunity to study the required epigenetic environment in the cell that permit circadian oscillation and to idenfify key influencing factors for proper clock function. How epigenetic mechansims, including DNA methylaiton and chromatin modifications, participate in control of clock oscillation still awaits future studies at the genomic scale.