Rath Lab – University of Copenhagen

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CNS > Research > Section for Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience > Rath Lab

Rath Lab

Main focus areas:

  • Homeobox genes in development and adult function of the mammalian circadian neuroendocrine system. Circadian rhythms are endogenous rhythms with a period that closely approximates the 24-h period of the day. The circadian timekeeper resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, whereas the pineal gland conveys circadian information from this nucleus into a nocturnal hormonal signal of melatonin.  We have in a combined effort, involving neuroanatomical and molecular biological techniques, shown the essential roles of homeobox gene-encoded transcription factors in both development and mature function of the circadian neuroendocrine system with focus on the pinealocyte, the principal melatonin-producing cell-type of the pineal gland.

  • The circadian system of the mammalian brain: circadian function and hormonal regulation of local peripheral clocks in the neocortex and cerebellum.  We have shown that the circadian system extends from the hypothalamus into other parts of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and the cerebellum, both of which receive a circadian input from the hypothalamus. In the cerebral cortex, the circadian clock is located in neurons, as evidenced by our finding of rhythmic expression of clock genes in these cells. Our most recently published results on a novel conditional knockout mouse show that disruption of the cortical circadian clock affects monoamine signaling and induces symptoms of depression; thus, we have used a basic scientific approach to shed light on the etiology of a major psychiatric disorder.

Key publications (2010-2017)

  • Bering T, Carstensen MB, Wörtwein G, Weikop P and Rath MF (2017) The circadian oscillator of the cerebral cortex: Molecular, biochemical and behavioral effects of deleting the Arntl clock gene in cortical neurons. Cereb Cortex doi:10.1093/cercor/bhw406.
  • Yamazaki F, Møller M, Fu C, Clokie SJ, Zykovich A, Coon SL, Klein DC and Rath MF (2015) The Lhx9 homeobox gene controls pineal gland development and prevents postnatal hydrocephalus. Brain Struct Funct 220:1497-1509.
  • Rath MF, Rohde K, Fahrenkrug J and Møller M (2013) Circadian clock components in the rat neocortex: daily dynamics, localization and regulation. Brain Struct Funct 218:551-562.
  • Coon SL, Munson PJ, Cheruki PF, Sugden D, Rath MF, Møller M, Clokie S, Fu C, Olanich ME, Rangel Z, Werner T, Mullikin JC and Klein DC (2012) Circadian changes in long noncoding RNAs in the pineal gland. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:13319-13324.

Overall publication metrics: 32 peer-reviewed papers, H-index 14 (Scopus), i10-index 21.