Epigenetics of sleep and chronobiology

Irfan A. Qureshi, Mark F. Mehler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The circadian clock choreographs fundamental biological rhythms. This system is comprised of the master circadian pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus and associated pacemakers in other tissues that coordinate complex physiological processes and behaviors, such as sleep, feeding, and metabolism. The molecular circuitry that underlies these clocks and orchestrates circadian gene expression has been the focus of intensive investigation, and it is becoming clear that epigenetic factors are highly integrated into these networks. In this review, we draw attention to the fundamental roles played by epigenetic mechanisms in transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation within the circadian clock system. We also highlight how alterations in epigenetic factors and mechanisms are being linked with sleep-wake disorders. These observations provide important insights into the pathogenesis and potential treatment of these disorders and implicate epigenetic deregulation in the significant but poorly understood interconnections now emerging between circadian processes and neurodegeneration, metabolic diseases, cancer, and aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number432
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Chromatin
  • Circadian
  • DNA methylation
  • Epigenetic
  • Histonemodification
  • Long noncoding RNA
  • MicroRNA
  • Noncoding RNA
  • RNA editing
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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