Urs Albrecht

Urs Albrecht
Université de Fribourg · Department Biology

PhD

About

250
Publications
35,648
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Introduction
My research is centered around the question how our genetic set-up that regulates biochemical and physiological processes interacts with environmental conditions. We use light, food and humidity to study such interactions and want to understand how the circadian clock system connects the external with the body internal world.
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - November 2019
Université de Fribourg
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2001 - December 2012
Université de Fribourg
January 2001 - present
Max Planck Society

Publications

Publications (250)
Article
Full-text available
Circadian rhythms are self-sustained oscillators with a period of 24 h that is based on the output of transcriptional and post-translational feedback loops. Phosphorylation is considered one of the most important post-translational modifications affecting rhythmicity from cyanobacteria to mammals. For example, the lack of cyclin-dependent kinase 5...
Article
Full-text available
Light affects many physiological processes in mammals such as entrainment of the circadian clock, regulation of mood, and relaxation of blood vessels. At the molecular level, a stimulus such as light initiates a cascade of kinases that phosphorylate CREB at various sites, including serine 133 (S133). This modification leads CREB to recruit the co-f...
Preprint
Circadian rhythms are self-sustained physiological changes that drive rhythmicity within the 24-hours cycles. Posttranslational modifications (PMTs), such as protein phosphorylation, acetylation, sumoylation, and ubiquitination, are biochemical processes that modify protein structure and functions, ensuring circadian rhythm precision. For example,...
Article
Full-text available
Light at night has strong effects on physiology and behavior of mammals. It affects mood in humans, which is exploited as light therapy, and has been shown to reset the circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). This resetting is paramount to align physiological and biochemical timing to the environmental light-dark cycle. Here we provide...
Book
Full-text available
Fit for the Future. In the last two years, the Department of Biology continued its path of consolidation, removing the last administrative remains of the former “units”. We now have a uniform hierarchy, established minimally structured working groups that deal with diverse organizational tasks, and streamlined administration that gives us more fle...
Preprint
Full-text available
Light affects many physiological processes in mammals such as entrainment of the circadian clock, regulation of mood, and relaxation of blood vessels. At the molecular level, a stimulus such as light initiates a cascade of kinases that phosphorylate CREB at various sites, including serine 133 (S133). This modification leads CREB to recruit the co-f...
Article
Full-text available
The circadian clock regulates many biochemical and physiological pathways, and lack of clock genes, such as Period (Per) 2, affects not only circadian activity rhythms, but can also modulate feeding and mood-related behaviors. However, it is not known how cell-type specific expression of Per2 contributes to these behaviors. In this study, we find t...
Article
Full-text available
Daily recurring events can be predicted by animals based on their internal circadian timing system. However, independently from the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the central pacemaker of the circadian system in mammals, restriction of food access to a particular time of day elicits food anticipatory activity (FAA). This suggests an involvement of o...
Preprint
The circadian clock regulates many biochemical and physiological pathways, and lack of clock genes, such as Period ( Per ) 2, do not only affect circadian activity rhythms, but can also modulate food-anticipatory and mood-related behaviors. However, it is not known how cell-type specific expression of Per2 contributes to these behaviors. In this st...
Article
Full-text available
Endogenous circadian rhythms are biological processes generated by an internal body clock. They are self-sustaining, and they govern biochemical and physiological processes. However, circadian rhythms are influenced by many external stimuli to reprogram the phase in response to environmental change. Through their adaptability to environmental chang...
Preprint
Light at night has strong effects on physiology and behavior of mammals. It affects mood in humans, which is exploited as light therapy, and has been shown to reset the circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). This resetting is paramount to align physiological and biochemical timing to the environmental light-dark cycle. Here we provide...
Article
Full-text available
In rats, birth timing is affected by changes in the light schedule until the middle of the pregnancy period. This phenomenon can be used to control birth timing in the animal industry and/or clinical fields. However, changes in the light schedule until the middle of the pregnancy period can damage the fetus by affecting the development of the major...
Article
The circadian system consists of individual cellular clocks. It organizes and synchronizes biochemical and physiological processes in order to optimally adapt an organism to its environment. This requires that the circadian system is responsive to environmental cues, which contain information about geophysical time (e.g., light), and allows an orga...
Article
Full-text available
Circadian oscillations emerge from transcriptional and post-translational feedback loops. An important step in generating rhythmicity is the translocation of clock components into the nucleus, which is regulated in many cases by kinases. In mammals, the kinase promoting the nuclear import of the key clock component Period 2 (PER2) is unknown. Here...
Preprint
Full-text available
Circadian oscillations emerge from transcriptional and post-translational feedback loops. An important step in generating rhythmicity is the translocation of clock components into the nucleus, which is regulated in many cases by kinases. In mammals, the kinase promoting the nuclear import of the key clock component Period 2 (PER2) is unknown. Here...
Article
The importance of circadian biology has rarely been considered in pre-clinical studies, and even more when translating to the bedside. Circadian biology is becoming a critical factor for improving drug efficacy and diminishing drug toxicity. Indeed, there is emerging evidence showing that some drugs are more effective at nighttime than daytime, whe...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Anticipating future challenges. The Department of Biology has changed greatly during these last years, notably in the disappearance of the former “units” to form a more flexible and hierarchically uniform structure, the reorganization of the administrative and technical staff, the establishment of platforms in bioinformatics, bioimaging, and proteo...
Article
Full-text available
The adipocyte plasma membrane-associated protein APMAP is expressed in the brain where it associates with γ-secretase, a protease responsible for the generation of the amyloid-β peptides (Aβ) implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In this study, behavioral investigations revealed spatial learning and memory deficiencies in our...
Article
Full-text available
The interplay between the circadian system and metabolism may give animals an evolutionary advantage by allowing them to anticipate food availability at specific times of the day. Physiological adaptation to feeding time allows investigation of animal parameters and comparison of food anticipation between groups of animals with genetic alterations...
Article
The rotation of the Earth around its axis causes periodic exposure of half of its surface to sunlight. This daily recurring event has been internalized in most organisms in the form of cellular circadian clock mechanisms. These cellular clocks are synchronized with each other in various ways to establish circadian networks that build the circadian...
Article
Mitochondrial fission-fusion dynamics and mitochondrial bioenergetics, including oxidative phosphorylation and generation of ATP, are strongly clock controlled. Here we show that these circadian oscillations depend on circadian modification of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1), a key mediator of mitochondrial fission. We used a combination of in vit...
Article
Full-text available
Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels (HCNs) in the nervous system are implicated in a variety of neuronal functions including learning and memory, regulation of vigilance states and pain. Dysfunctions or genetic loss of these channels have been shown to cause human diseases such as epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, and Pa...
Article
Glutamate is concentrated into synaptic vesicles (SV) by the vesicular glutamate transporters (VGLUT) 1 and 2. VGLUTs also harbor a Na+/Pi-transport activity when residing at the plasma membrane. Here we aimed to identify whether the diurnal switches of VGLUT1 parallels interactions with or modification of endocytic proteins. VGLUT1 and dynamin bin...
Article
Full-text available
Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (CHH) is a rare genetic form of isolated gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) deficiency caused by mutations in > 30 genes. Fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) is the most frequently mutated gene in CHH and is implicated in GnRH neuron development and maintenance. We note that a CHH FGFR1 mutation (...
Article
Full-text available
β-Klotho (encoded by Klb) is the obligate coreceptor mediating FGF21 and FGF15/19 signaling. Klb-/- mice are refractory to beneficial action of pharmacological FGF21 treatment including stimulation of glucose utilization and thermogenesis. Here, we investigated the energy homeostasis in Klb-/- mice on high-fat diet in order to better understand the...
Chapter
Full-text available
The circadian clock is one of the most conserved systems in mammals. It is an important regulator of many biological processes, such as the sleep-wake cycle, hormone secretion, and body temperature, which can influence both cellular and organ-level metabolic functioning. At the molecular level, the circadian system consists of autoregulatory feedba...
Article
Full-text available
The circadian system coordinates activities and functions in cells and tissues in order to optimize body functions in anticipation to daily changes in the environment. Disruption of the circadian system, due to irregular lifestyle such as rotating shift work, frequent travel across time-zones, or chronic stress, is correlated with several diseases...
Article
Full-text available
In the last decades, obesity has been on the rise becoming a burden for health care systems. The reasons behind this rise are most likely caused by lifestyle rather than by an increase in gene mutations, because manifestations of genetic alterations would take longer than just a few decades. Lifestyle has a great impact on the circadian system and...
Article
Full-text available
The circadian clock contributes to the timing of many body functions including metabolism and reproduction. The hepatokine fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a critical metabolic regulator involved in regulation of fertility. Here we show that lack of the clock component REV-ERBα elevates FGF21 levels in liver and plasma. At the molecular level...
Article
Full-text available
REV-ERBα (Nr1d1) is a nuclear receptor that is part of the circadian clock mechanism and regulates metabolism and inflammatory processes. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR, Nr3c1) influences similar processes, but is not part of the circadian clock although glucocorticoid signaling affects resetting of the circadian clock in peripheral tissues. Becau...
Article
Full-text available
The circadian system has endowed animals with the ability to anticipate recurring food availability at particular times of day. As daily food anticipation (FA) is independent of the suprachiasmatic nuclei, the central pacemaker of the circadian system, questions arise of where FA signals originate and what role components of the circadian clock mig...
Data
R script used to analyze gene expression in RNA sequencing data.
Data
Supplementary Figures 1-9 and Supplementary Tables 1 & 2.
Article
Full-text available
The drive to eat is regulated by two compensatory brain pathways termed as homeostatic and hedonic. Hypothalamic orexinergic (ORX) neurons regulate metabolism, feeding and reward, thus controlling physiological and hedonic appetite. Circadian regulation of feeding, metabolism and rhythmic activity of ORX cells are driven by the brain suprachiasmati...
Article
Full-text available
Study objectives: The nuclear receptor REV-ERBα is a potent, constitutive transcriptional repressor critical for the regulation of key circadian and metabolic genes. Recently, REV-ERBα's involvement in learning, neurogenesis, mood, and dopamine turnover was demonstrated suggesting a specific role in central nervous system functioning. We have prev...
Article
Full-text available
Genomic studies suggest an association of circadian clock genes with bipolar disorder (BD) and lithium response in humans. Therefore, we tested mice mutant in various clock genes before and after lithium treatment in the forced swim test (FST), a rodent behavioral test used for evaluation of depressive-like states. We find that expression of circad...
Chapter
This chapter highlights the relationships between the circadian clock and reward that may influence addictive behavior. Many of the observations described in the chapter compare day to night and are best considered diurnal rhythms. Drugs that belong to the family of biogenic amines are cocaine and methamphetamine. Drugs that bind to ionotropic rece...
Article
Full-text available
The efficiency of Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER)process is crucial for maintaining genomic integrity because in many organisms, including humans, it represents the only system able to repair a wide range of DNA damage. The aim of the work was to investigate whether the efficiency of the repair of photoproducts induced by UV-light is affected by t...
Article
Full-text available
Within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, circadian timekeeping and resetting have been shown to be largely dependent on both membrane depolarization and intracellular second-messenger signaling. In both of these processes, voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) mediate voltage-dependent calcium influx, which propagates neural i...
Article
Full-text available
The function of the nuclear receptor Rev-erbα (Nr1d1) in the brain is, apart from its role in the circadian clock mechanism, unknown. Therefore, we compared gene expression profiles in the brain between wild-type and Rev-erbα knock-out (KO) animals. We identified fatty acid binding protein 7 (Fabp7, Blbp) as a direct target of repression by REV-ERB...
Article
Full-text available
Mood disorders are multifactorial and heterogeneous diseases caused by the interplay of several genetic and environmental factors. In humans, mood disorders are often accompanied by abnormalities in the organization of the circadian system, which normally synchronizes activities and functions of cells and tissues. Studies on animal models suggest t...
Article
Full-text available
Living in the earth's oxygenated environment forced organisms to develop strategies to cope with the damaging effects of molecular oxygen known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here, we show that Per2, a molecular component of the mammalian circadian clock, is involved in regulating a cell's response to oxidative stress. Mouse embryonic fibroblast...
Article
Full-text available
Mammals can adapt to changing light/dark conditions by advancing or delaying their circadian clock phase. Light pulses evoke changes in gene expression and neuronal activity in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the central pacemaker of the circadian system. Alterations in neuronal activity are partially mediated by changes in synaptic vesicle (SV)...
Article
Full-text available
Adaptive thermogenesis allows mammals to resist to cold. For instance, in brown adipose tissue (BAT) the facultative uncoupling of the proton gradient from ATP synthesis in mitochondria is used to generate systemic heat. However, this system necessitates an increase of the Uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) and its activation by free fatty acids. Here we...
Article
Full-text available
The interplay between hepatic glycogen metabolism and blood glucose levels is a paradigm of the rhythmic nature of metabolic homeostasis. Here we show that mice lacking a functional PER2 protein (Per2 (Brdm1) ) display reduced fasting glycemia, altered rhythms of hepatic glycogen accumulation, and altered rhythms of food intake. Per2 (Brdm1) mice s...
Article
Full-text available
Circadian clocks are internal timekeepers present in almost all organisms. Driven by a genetic network of highly conserved structure, they generate self-sustained oscillations that entrain to periodic external signals such as the 24 h light-dark cycle. Vertebrates possess multiple, functionally overlapping homologues of the core clock genes. Furthe...
Article
Full-text available
Mammalian circadian clocks restrict cell proliferation to defined time windows, but the mechanism and consequences of this interrelationship are not fully understood. Previously we identified the multifunctional nuclear protein NONO as a partner of circadian PERIOD (PER) proteins. Here we show that it also conveys circadian gating to the cell cycle...