The recent identification of specific genes responsible for the generation of endogenous circadian rhythmicity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus presents a new level of investigation into endogenous rhythmicity and mechanisms of synchronization of this circadian clock with the environmental light/dark cycle. This article describes techniques that employ antisense and decoy oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) to determine the roles of specific molecular substrates both in endogenous rhythmicity and in regulating the effects of light on the mammalian circadian clock. Application of antisense ODN technology has revealed a role for timeless (Tim) in the core clock mechanism and established that induction of period1 (Per1) is required for light responsiveness. Likewise, a decoy ODN designed to sequester activated CREB protein definitively demonstrated a requirement for CRE-mediated transcription in light signaling. Experiments designed with these molecular tools offer new insights on the interaction of cellular processes and signaling with the molecular clockworks. Copyright 2005, Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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