Cardiomyocyte-specific BMAL1 plays critical roles in metabolism, signaling, and maintenance of contractile function of the heart

Martin E. Young, Rachel A. Brewer, Rodrigo A. Peliciari-Garcia, Helen E. Collins, Lan He, Tana L. Birky, Bradley W. Peden, Emily G. Thompson, Billy Joe Ammons, Molly S. Bray, John C. Chatham, Adam R. Wende, Qinglin Yang, Chi Wing Chow, Tami A. Martino, Karen L. Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Circadian clocks are cell autonomous, transcriptionally based, molecular mechanisms that confer the selective advantage of anticipation, enabling cells/organs to respond to environmental factors in a temporally appropriate manner. Critical to circadian clock function are 2 transcription factors, CLOCK and BMAL1. The purpose of the present study was to reveal novel physiologic functions of BMAL1 in the heart, as well as to determine the pathologic consequences of chronic disruption of this circadian clock component. To address this goal, we generated cardiomyocyte-specific Bmal1 knockout (CBK) mice. Following validation of the CBK model, combined microarray and in silico analyses were performed, identifying 19 putative direct BMAL1 target genes, which included a number of metabolic (e.g., β-hydroxybutyrate dehydrogenase 1 [Bdh1]) and signaling (e.g., the p85α regulatory subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase [Pik3r1]) genes. Results from subsequent validation studies were consistent with regulation of Bdh1 and Pik3r1 by BMAL1, with predicted impairments in ketone body metabolism and signaling observed in CBK hearts. Furthermore, CBK hearts exhibited depressed glucose utilization, as well as a differential response to a physiologic metabolic stress (i.e., fasting). Consistent with BMAL1 influencing critical functions in the heart, echocardiographic, gravimetric, histologic, and molecular analyses revealed age-onset development of dilated cardiomyopathy in CBK mice, which was associated with a severe reduction in life span. Collectively, our studies reveal that BMAL1 influences metabolism, signaling, and contractile function of the heart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-276
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • chronobiology
  • circadian
  • metabolism
  • signaling
  • transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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