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Protein links metabolism and circadian rhythms

Work could lead to drugs to combat obesity, aging and jetlag

Cue stomach rumbles
Sirtuin 1 sets clock to

Timing is everything, especially when it comes to basic biological functions such as eating, sleeping and detoxifying. Scientists have known for ages that metabolism is tied to the body’s daily rhythms, but have not known how.

Now, two groups of researchers report in the July 25 Cell the discovery of a molecule that links metabolism to the circadian clock. The missing link turns out to be a protein called sirtuin 1 or SIRT1, which is also a key regulator of aging.

Uncovering the mechanism that links metabolism and circadian rhythms could lead to drugs to combat obesity, aging and jetlag and help shift workers reset their body clocks.

Already, SIRT1 is the target of resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine and other foods and that mimics the health benefits of a nutritious, calorie-restricted diet.

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