Circadian clocks orchestrate essential physiology in response to various cues, yet their mechanistic and functional plasticity remains unclear. Here, we investigated Clock δ"19/+ heterozygous (Clk/+) mice, known to display lengthened periodicity and dampened amplitude, as a model of partially perturbed clocks. Interestingly, Clk/+ mice exhibited improved glycemic control and resistance to circadian period lengthening under high-fat diet (HFD). Furthermore, BMAL1 protein levels in Clk/+ mouse liver were upregulated compared with wild-type (WT) mice under HFD. Pharmacological and molecular studies showed that BMAL1 turnover entailed proteasomal and autophagic activities, and CLOCKδ"19 attenuated both processes. Consistent with an important role of BMAL1 in glycemic control, enhanced activation of insulin signaling was observed in Clk/+ mice relative to WT in HFD. Finally, transcriptome analysis revealed reprogramming of clock-controlled metabolic genes in Clk/+ mice. Our results demonstrate a novel role of autophagy in circadian regulation and reveal an unforeseen plasticity of circadian and metabolic networks.
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