Current Genetics

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 339–349 | Cite as

Circadian rhythms, metabolic oscillators, and the target of rapamycin (TOR) pathway: the Neurospora connection

  • Patricia Lakin-ThomasEmail author


Circadian (24-h) rhythmicity is a fundamental property of eukaryotic cells, and it is not surprising that it intersects with fundamental metabolic processes. Many links between these two processes have been documented, and speculation has been growing that there may be circadian “metabolic oscillators” that interact with and exist independently of the well-known circadian transcription/translation feedback loops (TTFLs) that have been extensively studied. This review takes a critical look at the evidence for the existence of metabolic oscillators at the cellular level, attempting to answer these questions: does metabolism affect circadian rhythmicity, and vice versa? Is metabolism rhythmic, and if so, is that rhythmicity cell autonomous? Systems displaying “non-canonical rhythmicity” in the absence of functional TTFLs provide opportunities for identifying metabolic oscillators, and this review emphasizes the fungus Neurospora crassa as a model system. Recent papers describing links between the target of rapamycin (TOR) signaling pathway and circadian rhythmicity are highlighted, suggesting the potential for TOR signaling in generating rhythmicity independent of TTFLs.


Circadian Metabolism Neurospora crassa Target of rapamycin Oscillator 



Funding provided by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada, Discovery Grant 2017-05664. Thanks to Stuart Brody and Lalanthi Ratnayake for helpful comments on the manuscript.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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