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Circadian timing of metabolism in C. elegans. (TiMetab)

TiMetab is a Marie Curie Intra-European project funded under the European Seventh Framework Programme. It aims to investigate the role of the circadian clock in energy balance, metabolism and lifespan of C. elegans, an emergent model for the study of circadian rhythms and already established for metabolic research. 

Circadian (circa diem, about 24h) rhythms are present in organisms from all phyla, regulating processes from gene expression to behaviour. The circadian clock also regulates metabolism and, in turn, energetic balance influences the clock. This reciprocal interaction has important consequences for health. Despite this, humans in modern societies use alarm clocks to adjust their sleep to social obligations. In situations of shift work, social jetlag or jetlag, the daily cycle of rest and wakefulness and the corresponding periods of eating and fasting are no longer organised according to the natural day/night cycles. In humans, this clock misalignment provokes impaired glucose tolerance and it has been associated with high BMI (body mass index) in epidemiological studies.

The mechanisms describing how clock disruption affects energy metabolism are still largely unknown. As obesity becomes epidemic in industrialized societies, new tools to study these mechanisms have to be developed. With this project we aim to show how the circadian clock regulates metabolism and contributes to fitness of the organism. We will take advantage of the use of a model organism, Caenorhabditis elegans, a well-established model for the study of metabolism.

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

The project will investigate the relationship between the circadian clock and metabolism, using a well-established genetic model, C. elegans, and allowing further incursions into the mechanisms responsible for these interactions. This research will contribute to fill a gap in Obesity research, developing new tools to unveil the mechanisms responsible for the influence of circadian rhythms in metabolism.

The aims of the project are:

  • Determine the metabolic variables modulated by the circadian clock in C. elegans.
  • Describe the metabolic feedback to the circadian clock in C. elegans.
  • Monitor the adaptive value of the C. elegans clock.



The researcher will receive fundamental training in C. elegans genetics, molecular tools and general methods, which combined with her training in Chronobiology, will set her in a privileged position to establish an independent carrier in the study of circadian rhythms in C. elegans. Few attempts have been made to study circadian rhythms in C. elegans, mainly from Chronobiology laboratories with limited experience in the nematode model. The acquisition of this fundamental knowledge about the C. elegans model will represent a breakthrough on her training as independent researcher.

The interdisciplinary approach of the project will result in a better understanding of the reciprocal interaction between the circadian clock and metabolism and its role in longevity regulation. This research will also establish C. elegans as a model for the study of this interaction. Furthermore, new clock regulators will be unveiled, shedding light on the molecular mechanisms that modulate the circadian clock in C. elegans.

Interacción de la mitocondria y las rutas de señalización celular en la regulación del envejecimiento

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Marta Artal Sanz.  

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Budget of Andalusian group: € 223,002.20

Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Spain)

The project will be developed by the postdoctoral researcher María Olmedo, under the supervision of Dr. Marta Artal.

Keywords: Circadian, C.elegans, Longevity, Fitness, Obesity, L204 Metabolomics, L405 Metabolism
Duration: 24 months. July, 1th 2014 to June, 30th 2016
Project cost: € 223,002.20