Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Clock Function

Group Structure

Group Leader: Paloma Mas (CSIC Professor)
Career Track Fellows: Rossana Henriques
Postdoctoral Researchers: Reyes Benlloch, Wei Huang, Jordi Malapeira
PhD Students: Jorge Alberto Fung, Yuan Ma, Pablo Pérez, Nozomu Takahashi


A wide variety of biological processes exhibit a rhythmic pattern of activity with a period of 24 hours. The temporal coordination of these rhythms is regulated by a cellular endogenous mechanism known as circadian clock. From bacteria to humans, the presence of the circadian clock has provided a remarkable adaptive advantage throughout evolution. In plants, the temporal synchronization of physiology with the environment is essential for successful plant growth and development. The intimate connection between light signaling pathways and the circadian oscillator allows the anticipation of the environmental transitions and the measurement of day-length as an indicator of changing seasons.

Current research in our group focuses on identifying new components and mechanisms of circadian clock progression in Arabidopsis thaliana. We are interested in elucidating the regulatory networks and the functional modules underlying the circadian clock function. Our research also focuses on studies about chromatin remodeling and the molecular determinants responsible for modulating the circadian activity. We also study the role of post-transcriptional regulation at the core of the clock and the impact of circadian clock function on plant growth and development. We apply to our studies a combination of genetic, biochemical, cellular and molecular approaches to obtain a comprehensive view of the interactive networks underlying circadian clock progression in plants.

Research Projects

  • A functional link between chromatin remodeling and the circadian clock.
  • Transcriptional and post-translational modifications at the core of the circadian clock.
  • Interactive networks connecting the central oscillator with clock outputs.

Selected Publications

Huang W., Perez-Garcia P., Pokhilko A., Millar A.J., Antoshechkin I., Riechmann J.L., Mas P.
Mapping the core of the Arabidopsis circadian clock defines the network structure of the oscillator
(2012) Science, vol. 335 (6077), pp. 75-79

Malapeira J., Khaitova L.C., Mas P.
Ordered changes in histone modifications at the core of the Arabidopsis circadian clock
(2012) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 109 (52), pp. 21540-21545

Troncoso-Ponce M.A., Mas P.
Newly described components and regulatory mechanisms of circadian clock function in arabidopsis thaliana
(2012) Molecular Plant, vol. 5 (3), pp. 545-553

Henriques R., Mas P.
Chromatin remodeling and alternative splicing: Pre- and post-transcriptional regulation of the Arabidopsis circadian clock
(2013) Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, vol. 24 (5), pp. 399-406

Malapeira J., Mas P.
A chromatin-dependent mechanism regulates gene expression at the core of the Arabidopsis circadian clock
(2013) Plant Signaling and Behavior, vol. 8 (5), pp. e24079.1-e24079.4

Mas P.
(2013) Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology, vol. 24 (5), pp. 381-382

Pokhilko A., Mas P., Millar A.J.
Modelling the widespread effects of TOC1 signalling on the plant circadian clock and its outputs
(2013) BMC Systems Biology, vol. 7, Art. number 23

Rugnone M.L., Soverna A.F., Sanchez S.E., Schlaen R.G., Hernando C.E., Seymour D.K., Mancini E., Chernomoretz A., Weigel D., Mas P., Yanovsky M.J.
LNK genes integrate light and clock signaling networks at the core of the Arabidopsis oscillator
(2013) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 110 (29), pp. 12120-12125