Deb Bell-Pedersen

Associate Department Head for Research

Fax: 979-845-2891

Bell-Pedersen Lab Website

3258 TAMU
Biological Sciences Building West
Room 210A

Biological Sciences Building West
Room 208-210

Joined the Department in 1997

  • BS, 1983 SUNY Albany Biology
  • MS, 1987 SUNY Albany Molecular Biology
  • PhD, 1991 SUNY Albany Molecular Biology
  • Postdoctoral Research, Dartmouth Medical School, Biochemistry


Center for Biological Clocks Research
Chemical Biology Interface
Program in Microbial Genetics and Genomics

Circadian Rhythms in the development of spores in the fungus Neurospora crassa

One of the most fascinating aspects of life on earth is that most organisms contain a high-precision clock that allows them to prepare for the opportunities and challenges of sunrise and sunset. Because of the widespread influence of the clock on human biology, defects of the clock are associated with sleep disorders, and for unknown reasons epilepsy, cerebrovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, headaches, cardiovascular malfunction, and cancer. In addition, daily changes in metabolism and cell division rates influence the efficacy and toxicity of many pharmaceuticals, including cancer drugs. Therefore, knowing how clocks work and what they regulate at the molecular level is important for the development of new ways to improve human health.

To understand the clock, Dr. Bell-Pedersen’s lab uses modern molecular, biochemical, genetic, and genomic tools to investigate the mechanisms by which the clock regulates rhythmicity in the simple model organism Neurospora crassa. Her group discovered that the clock regulates a major signaling pathway in fungi. This same signaling pathway is present in humans and involved in stress responses, immune activity, and cancer. This regulation provides a rationale for observations that deregulation of the clock contributes to cancer and suggests new opportunities for treatment.

  1. Ding, Z, Lamb, TM, Boukhris, A, Porter, R, Bell-Pedersen, D. Circadian Clock Control of Translation Initiation Factor eIF2α Activity Requires eIF2γ-Dependent Recruitment of Rhythmic PPP-1 Phosphatase in Neurospora crassa. mBio. 2021;12 (3):. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00871-21. PubMed PMID:34006661 PubMed Central PMC8262944.
  2. Alder-Rangel, A, Idnurm, A, Brand, AC, Brown, AJP, Gorbushina, A, Kelliher, CM et al.. The Third International Symposium on Fungal Stress - ISFUS. Fungal Biol. 2020;124 (5):235-252. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2020.02.007. PubMed PMID:32389286 PubMed Central PMC7438019.
  3. Karki, S, Castillo, K, Ding, Z, Kerr, O, Lamb, TM, Wu, C et al.. Circadian clock control of eIF2α phosphorylation is necessary for rhythmic translation initiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;117 (20):10935-10945. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1918459117. PubMed PMID:32355000 PubMed Central PMC7245112.
  4. Baek, M, Virgilio, S, Lamb, TM, Ibarra, O, Andrade, JM, Gonçalves, RD et al.. Circadian clock regulation of the glycogen synthase (gsn) gene by WCC is critical for rhythmic glycogen metabolism in Neurospora crassa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116 (21):10435-10440. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1815360116. PubMed PMID:31048503 PubMed Central PMC6534987.
  5. Goldsmith, CS, Kim, SM, Karunarathna, N, Neuendorff, N, Toussaint, LG, Earnest, DJ et al.. Correction to: inhibition of p38 MAPK activity leads to cell type-specific effects on the molecular circadian clock and time-dependent reduction of glioma cell invasiveness. BMC Cancer. 2019;19 (1):101. doi: 10.1186/s12885-018-5238-0. PubMed PMID:30674294 PubMed Central PMC6344983.
  6. Goldsmith, CS, Kim, SM, Karunarathna, N, Neuendorff, N, Toussaint, LG, Earnest, DJ et al.. Inhibition of p38 MAPK activity leads to cell type-specific effects on the molecular circadian clock and time-dependent reduction of glioma cell invasiveness. BMC Cancer. 2018;18 (1):43. doi: 10.1186/s12885-017-3896-y. PubMed PMID:29316898 PubMed Central PMC5761097.
  7. Wu, C, Dasgupta, A, Shen, L, Bell-Pedersen, D, Sachs, MS. The cell free protein synthesis system from the model filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Methods. 2018;137 :11-19. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2017.12.003. PubMed PMID:29294368 PubMed Central PMC6047757.
  8. Hughes, ME, Abruzzi, KC, Allada, R, Anafi, R, Arpat, AB, Asher, G et al.. Guidelines for Genome-Scale Analysis of Biological Rhythms. J Biol Rhythms. 2017;32 (5):380-393. doi: 10.1177/0748730417728663. PubMed PMID:29098954 PubMed Central PMC5692188.
  9. Ivanov, IP, Wei, J, Caster, SZ, Smith, KM, Michel, AM, Zhang, Y et al.. Translation Initiation from Conserved Non-AUG Codons Provides Additional Layers of Regulation and Coding Capacity. mBio. 2017;8 (3):. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00844-17. PubMed PMID:28655822 PubMed Central PMC5487733.
  10. Dekhang, R, Wu, C, Smith, KM, Lamb, TM, Peterson, M, Bredeweg, EL et al.. The Neurospora Transcription Factor ADV-1 Transduces Light Signals and Temporal Information to Control Rhythmic Expression of Genes Involved in Cell Fusion. G3 (Bethesda). 2017;7 (1):129-142. doi: 10.1534/g3.116.034298. PubMed PMID:27856696 PubMed Central PMC5217103.
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