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The circadian clock is a fundamental biological mechanism that orchestrates essential cellular and physiological processes to optimize fitness and health. The basic functional unit is the cell-autonomous oscillator, consisting of intersecting negative feedback loops. Whereas the core loop is primarily responsible for rhythm generation, auxiliary loops, most notably the secondary or stabilization loop, play pivotal roles to confer temporal precision and molecular robustness. The stabilization loop contains opposing nuclear receptor subfamilies REV-ERBs and retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptors (RORs), competing to modulate rhythmic expression of the basic helix-loop-helix ARNT like 1 (Bmal1) genes in the core loop as well as other clock-controlled genes. Therefore, REV-ERBs and RORs are strategically located to interface the oscillator and the global transcriptomic network, promoting cellular homeostasis and physiological fitness throughout lifespan. Disruption of REV-ERB and ROR functions has been linked with diseases and aging, and pharmacological manipulation of these factors has shown promise in various mouse disease models. Nobiletin is a natural compound that directly binds to and activates RORα/γ, modulating circadian rhythms, and shows robust in vivo efficacies to combat clock-associated pathophysiologies and age-related decline. Results from several studies demonstrate an inverse relation between nobiletin efficacy and clock functional state, where nobiletin elicits little effect in young and healthy mice with growing efficacy as the clock is perturbed by environmental and genetic challenges. This mode of action is consistent with the function of the stabilization loop to promote circadian and physiological resilience. Future studies should further investigate the function and mechanism of REV-ERBs and RORs, and test strategies targeting these factors against disease and aging.


Circadian oscillator, core loop and stabilization/secondary loop, REV-ERBs and RORs, ligands and drugs, circadian amplitude and resilience, physiological health, healthy aging



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