Adipokine regulation of circadian clocks in hypothalamic neurons

Project Description:

Many metabolic disorders are associated with disrupted daily rhythms in food intake and sleep. In this project we aim at elucidating the molecular pathways linking adipose tissue rhythms and the central regulation of appetite. Molecular circadian clocks in hypothalamic neurons coordinate 24-h rhythms of appetite and energy expenditure. How do adipose tissues communicate with these CNS clocks? What are the signals regulating feeding rhythms in response to weight gain? Can one manipulate these signals to regulate food intake? We want to address this question using a combination of cell and tissue explant cultures and virus-based genetic manipulations in wild-type and clock gene mutant mice. 

Experimental Methods:

  • Circadian brain tissue and cell culture
  • Luciferase reporter assays
  • Adeno-associated virus construction and application in mice
  • Phenotyping of transgenic mice including measurements of locomotor activity (running-wheels, IR) and feeding rhythms
  • DNA and RNA extraction / PCR, real-time qPCR
  • Protein extraction / Western blotting