Immunometabolism: Is it under the eye of the clock?
Molecular clocks allow an organism to track time of day, providing the means to anticipate and respond to the daily changes within the environment. In mammals the molecular clock consists of a network of proteins that form auto-regulatory feedback loops that drive rhythms in physiology and behavior. In recent times the extent to which the molecular clock controls key metabolic and immune pathways has begun to emerge. For example, the main clock protein BMAL1 has been linked to mitochondrial metabolism, mitochondrial dynamics and various host defense pathways. The molecular clock may function to integrate daily metabolic changes driven by feeding-fasting to immune function and output. Understanding how the clock intersects with metabolic pathways within immune cells to affect immune phenotypes will have broad implications for the management of metabolic, inflammatory and infectious diseases.