Interactions between circadian clocks and exercise physiology

Circadian clocks are key regulators of daily physiology and metabolism in mammals. Our understanding of the role of the circadian clock and specific clock proteins in controlling exercise capacity is rudimentary. Consequently, there is growing interest in exercise biology in general, specifically in its interaction with other processes that govern whole-body physiology and metabolism. We have reported that mice show a day-time variance in exercise capacity, and it is affected by exercise intensity and clock proteins and elicits a distinct muscle transcriptomic and metabolic signature. Specifically, we demonstrated that ZMP, an AMPK activator, is induced by exercise in a daytime-dependent manner. We continue to study various aspects of exercise physiology through the lens of circadian biology (Ezagouri et al., Cell Metabolism, 2019; Adamovich et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2021.).

We employ various clock mutant mouse models with different light regimens to characterize the interaction between clocks and exercise. Further, we have designed and built fully automated time-controlled Running Wheels that can be programmed in advance to be in locked or unlocked positions for designated times to enable scheduled training of animals without manual interventions. This experimental setup is optimized for addressing questions regarding the involvement of daytime and circadian clocks in regulating exercise capacity (Adamovich et al., STAR Protocols, 2021).

We are also studying the molecular clock and skeletal muscle metabolism in health and disease.