Department of Neurobiology
Medical Subject Headings
Animals; Circadian Rhythm; Computer Simulation; Humans; Mammals; *Models, Biological; Mutation; Software
Neuroscience and Neurobiology
Circadian rhythms are endogenous rhythms with a cycle length of approximately 24 h. Rhythmic production of specific proteins within pacemaker structures is the basis for these physiological and behavioral rhythms. Prior work on mathematical modeling of molecular circadian oscillators has focused on the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Recently, great advances have been made in our understanding of the molecular basis of circadian rhythms in mammals. Mathematical models of the mammalian circadian oscillator are needed to piece together diverse data, predict experimental results, and help us understand the clock as a whole. Our objectives are to develop mathematical models of the mammalian circadian oscillator, generate and test predictions from these models, gather information on the parameters needed for model development, integrate the molecular model with an existing model of the influence of light and rhythmicity on human performance, and make models available in BioSpice so that they can be easily used by the general community. Two new mammalian models have been developed, and experimental data are summarized. These studies have the potential to lead to new strategies for resetting the circadian clock. Manipulations of the circadian clock can be used to optimize performance by promoting alertness and physiological synchronization.