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Timing is everything: how protein synthesis is controlled in our body clock

November 10, 2015

  • Date and time: November 10 from 3:00-4:00 PM
  • Location: 310 Kelly Hall (ICTAS I)
  • Speaker: Ruifeng Cao, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Affiliation:  McGill University

Abstract: Circadian (~24 h) clocks coordinate our physiology, metabolism and behavior across the 24-h day. In modern society, travel across time zones, night shift work, greater light at night, and night-owl lifestyles all become health hazards that affect our sleep quality and impact on the body’s circadian clocks. Disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to a number of human disorders, such as cancer, obesity, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Treatment of these clock-related abnormalities requires understanding of the fundamental biological mechanisms that control the circadian clocks. In the seminar, I will first give a brief introduction of circadian rhythms and circadian clocks, and then talk about my recent work on the mechanisms of translational control (protein synthesis) in the master circadian clock in the brain, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). The role of mTOR and MAPK signaling pathways in the circadian clock will be analyzed and implications of the findings will be discussed.

References: 1. Cao R, Gkogkas CG, de Zavalia N, Blum ID, Yanagiya A, Tsukumo Y, Xu H, Lee C, Storch KF, Liu AC, Amir S, Sonenberg N (2015). Light-regulated translational control of circadian behavior by eIF4E phosphorylation. Nature Neuroscience, 18(6):855-62. 2. Cao R, Robinson B, Xu H, Gkogkas C, Khoutorsky A, Alain T, Yanagiya A, Nevarko T, Liu AC, Amir S, Sonenberg N (2013). Translational control of entrainment and synchrony of the suprachiasmatic circadian clock by mTOR/4E-BP1 signaling. Neuron, 79(4):712-724.

For more information, contact Anne Wailes at

* Ruifeng Cao seminar flyer.pdf
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