To maintain daily cycles, the circadian clock must tightly regulate the rhythms of thousands of mRNAs and proteins with the correct period, phase, and amplitude to ultimately drive the wide range of rhythmic biological processes. Recent genomic approaches have revolutionized our view of circadian gene expression and highlighted the importance of post-transcriptional regulation in driving mRNA rhythmicity. Even after transcripts are made from DNA, subsequent processing and regulatory steps determine when, where, and how much protein will be generated. These post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms can add flexibility to overall gene expression and alter protein levels rapidly without requiring transcript synthesis and are therefore beneficial for cells; however, the extent to which circadian post-transcriptional mechanisms contribute to rhythmic profiles throughout the genome and the mechanisms involved have not been fully elucidated. In this review, we will summarize how circadian genomics have revealed new insights into rhythmic post-transcriptional regulation in mammals and discuss potential implications of such regulation in controlling many circadian-driven physiologies.
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