Cutting-edge science for health

Circadian transcriptome and proteome analyses of the fetal suprachiasmatic nuclei

Laboratory of Biological Rhythms 

PhD project: Circadian transcriptome and proteome analyses of the fetal suprachiasmatic nuclei

The lifestyle factors, such as irregular daily regime, exposure to light at night, shift work, sleep deprivation, stress, etc., become prevalent in modern society. It is well known that these factors dominantly impair the function of the circadian system, which is to provide our organism with temporal organization essential for optimizing physiological functions according to actual daytime. The disturbances of the circadian functions have been associated with various diseases. Importantly, these factors are often imposed on pregnant or lactating women, thus affecting not only their own health, but also development of their offspring. Indeed, women in chronic shift-work schedules have a high risk of preterm delivery, making this issue an important topic of translational research. In animal studies, the disturbances of maternal circadian system have been associated with health problems later in adulthood. Despite the link, the molecular mechanisms of maternal entrainment of the fetal and neonatal clocks are still poorly understood. Therefore, it is critical to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of how the rhythmic maternal signals keep the offspring's circadian clocks properly synchronized with external environment.

The PhD project aims to characterize the pathways involved in communication between the maternal circadian system and the fetal clocks using the animal models (laboratory rats and mice, including transgenic mice model). To achieve this goal, broad array of molecular and behavioral techniques used in the circadian field, including the real time recording of the clock gene expression in organotypic explants of the fetal suprachiasmatic nuclei, will be employed.

Candidate’s profile (requirements):

The candidates should have the Master's degree or equivalent in one of the fields: physiology, neuroscience, molecular biology, biochemistry, medicine or related fields, or they should be expecting to obtain their degree this year. Candidates should be fluent in English with good writing skills. Previous experience with biostatistics, in vivo models (mouse, rat) and molecular biology techniques is considered as an advantage.

Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. PharmDr. Alena Sumova, CSc., DSc.

Relevant publications:

Sládek M., Sumová A., Kováčiková Z., Bendová Z., Laurinová K., Illnerová H.: Insight into core clock mechanism of embryonic and early postnatal rat suprachiasmatic nucleus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 101: 6231-6236, 2004

Houdek P., Sumová A.: In vivo initiation of clock gene expression rhythmicity in fetal rat suprachiasmatic nuclei. PLoS One 2014; 9(9):e107360. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0107360.  

Houdek P., Polidarová L., Nováková M., Matějů K., Kubík Š., Sumová A.: Melatonin administered during the fetal stage affects circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus but not in the liver. Dev. Neurobiol. 75(2): 131-144, 2015

Olejníková L., Polidarová L., Sumová A.: Stress affects expression of the clock gene Bmal1 in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of neonatal rats via glucocorticoid-dependent mechanism. Acta Physiol. (Oxf). May;223(1):e13020, 2018. doi: 10.1111/apha.13020.

Olejníková L., Polidarová L., Behuliak M., Sládek M, Sumová A.: Circadian alignment in a foster mother improves the offspring's pathological phenotype. J. Physiol. (London), 596, 23: 5757-5775, 2018, doi: 10.1113/JP275585