2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
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  • Release Date: 2024-04-07
Playlist
  • SCN
  • circadian rhythm
  • hypothalamus
  • biological clock
Video Introduction

The content is sourced from: https://youtu.be/DHpCBmq_z60

The suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) are thought to be involved with maintaining circadian rhythms, or biological patterns that follow a 24-hour cycle. To accomplish this, the cells of the SCN contain biological clocks. In this video, I discuss the molecular mechanism driving the biological clocks in the cells of the mammalian SCN, and how a cycle of gene expression allows the activity of these cells to follow a 24-hour pattern. [1][2]

The suprachiasmatic nuclei, or SCN, are two small, paired nuclei found in the hypothalamus; they are involved in maintaining circadian rhythms, or biological patterns that follow a 24-hour cycle. To accomplish this, the cells of the SCN contain biological clocks. 

The following is a simplified description of the molecular mechanism of the biological clocks in the mammalian SCN. Cells in the SCN produce two proteins called Clock and BMAL1. Clock and BMAL1 bind together and promote the expression of genes called period, or per, and cryptochrome, or cry. The protein products of these genes, Per and Cry, then bind together and inhibit the actions of Clock and BMAL1, which in turn suppresses the production of Per and Cry. Gradually, however, the Per and Cry proteins break down. When Per and Cry degrade fully, Clock and BMAL1 are free to act again; they go back to promoting the expression of per and cry, starting the cycle anew. The process consistently takes around 24 hours to complete before it repeats. It is thought that this cycle of gene expression is what acts as the molecular clock in SCN cells, although the process is actually more complex as there are multiple period and cryptochrome genes as well as other proteins involved in the complete mechanism. The SCN can use information it receives from the retina about light in the environment to make adjustments to the circadian clock. Such information travels from the retina to the SCN along a path called the retinohypothalamic tract.

References
  1. Colwell, C. (2011). Linking neural activity and molecular oscillations in the SCN Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 12 (10), 553-569 DOI: 10.1038/nrn3086.
  2. Dibner, C., Schibler, U., Albrecht, U. (2010). The mammalian circadian timing system: organization and coordination of central and peripheral clocks Annual review of physiology, 72 (1), 517-549.
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Challenged, N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1185 (accessed on 26 May 2024).
Challenged N. 2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1185. Accessed May 26, 2024.
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1185 (accessed May 26, 2024).
Challenged, N. (2024, April 07). 2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/video/video_detail/1185
Challenged, Neuroscientifically. "2-Minute Neuroscience: Suprachiasmatic Nucleus." Encyclopedia. Web. 07 April, 2024.
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