Preservation of circadian rhythms by the protein folding chaperone, BiP

Adam Pickard, Joan Chang, Nissrin Alachkar, Ben Calverley, Richa Garva, Peter Arvan, Qing-Jun Meng, Karl Kadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dysregulation of collagen synthesis is associated with disease progression in cancer and fibrosis. Collagen synthesis is coordinated with the circadian clock, which curiously in cancer cells, is deregulated by ER stress. We hypothesized interplay between circadian rhythm, collagen synthesis and ER stress in normal cells. Here we show that fibroblasts with ER stress lack circadian rhythms in gene expression upon clock-synchronizing time cues. Overexpression of BiP or treatment with chemical chaperones strengthens the oscillation amplitude of circadian rhythms. The significance of these findings was explored in tendon, where we showed that BiP expression is ramped pre-emptively prior to a surge in collagen synthesis at night, thereby preventing protein mis-folding and ER stress. In turn, this forestalls activation of the unfolded protein response in order for circadian rhythms to be maintained. Thus, targeting ER stress could be used to modulate circadian rhythm and restore collagen homeostasis in disease.


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