Biological Oscillators, circadian rhythms and temperature compensation

Richard Neher
Biozentrum, University of Basel

slides at

Periodic environments and biological oscillations

  • Day/night
  • Tides
  • Moon phases
  • Cells anticipate periodic environments
  • Circadian clocks run without cues (free run).
  • Clocks are entrainable

Nobelprize 2017: Elucidation of the Molecular Mechanisms of Circadian Clocks

Jeffrey Hall
Michael Rosbach
Michael Young
Images by Nobel media,

Physical and biochemical oscillators

  • Pendulum
    $$\frac{d^2\theta(t)}{dt^2} = \frac{g}{L}\sin \theta(t) \approx \frac{g}{L}\theta^2$$
  • period $$T = 2\pi \sqrt{\frac{g}{L}}$$
  • Oscillation driven by back and forth between kinetic and potential energy.
  • No equivalent of kinetic energy
  • Multi-component systems with interdependent regulation