Circadian Regulation of A-Type Potassium Currents in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
ABSTRACT In mammals, the precise circadian timing of many biological processes depends on the generation of oscillations in neural activity of pacemaker cells in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Understanding the ionic mechanisms underlying these rhythms is an important goal of research in chronobiology. Previous work has shown that SCN neurons express A-type potassium currents (IAs), but little is known about the properties of this current in the SCN. We sought to characterize some of these properties, including the identities of IA channel subunits found in the SCN and the circadian regulation of IA itself. In this study, we were able to detect significant hybridization for Shal-related family members 1 and 2 (Kv4.1 and 4.2) within the SCN. In addition, we used Western blot to show that the Kv4.1 and 4.2 proteins are expressed in SCN tissue. We further show that the magnitude of the IA current exhibits a diurnal rhythm that peaks during the day in the dorsal region of the mouse SCN. This rhythm seems to be driven by a subset of SCN neurons with a larger peak current and a longer decay constant. Importantly, this rhythm in neurons in the dorsal SCN continues in constant darkness, providing an important demonstration of the circadian regulation of an intrinsic voltage-gated current in mammalian cells. We conclude that the anatomical expression, biophysical properties, and pharmacological profiles measured are all consistent with the SCN IA current being generated by Kv4 channels. Additionally, these data suggest a role for IA in the regulation of spontaneous action potential firing during the transitions between day/night and in the integration of synaptic inputs to SCN neurons throughout the daily cycle.
SourceAvailable from: Monika Stengl[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The insect neuropeptide pigment-dispersing factor (PDF) is a functional ortholog of vasoactive intestinal polypeptide, the coupling factor of the mammalian circadian pacemaker. Despite of PDF's importance for synchronized circadian locomotor activity rhythms its signaling is not well understood. We studied PDF signaling in primary cell cultures of the accessory medulla, the circadian pacemaker of the Madeira cockroach. In Ca2+ imaging studies four types of PDF-responses were distinguished. In regularly bursting type 1 pacemakers PDF application resulted in dose-dependent long-lasting increases in Ca2+ baseline concentration and frequency of oscillating Ca2+ transients. Adenylyl cyclase antagonists prevented PDF-responses in type 1 cells, indicating that PDF signaled via elevation of intracellular cAMP levels. In contrast, in type 2 pacemakers PDF transiently raised intracellular Ca2+ levels even after blocking adenylyl cyclase activity. In patch clamp experiments the previously characterized types 1-4 could not be identified. Instead, PDF-responses were categorized according to ion channels affected. Application of PDF inhibited outward potassium or inward sodium currents, sometimes in the same neuron. In a comparison of Ca2+ imaging and patch clamp experiments we hypothesized that in type 1 cells PDF-dependent rises in cAMP concentrations block primarily outward K+ currents. Possibly, this PDF-dependent depolarization underlies PDF-dependent phase advances of pacemakers. Finally, we propose that PDF-dependent concomitant modulation of K+ and Na+ channels in coupled pacemakers causes ultradian membrane potential oscillations as prerequisite to efficient synchronization via resonance.PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e108757. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0108757 · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Photoautotrophic bacteria have developed mechanisms to maintain K(+) homeostasis under changing ionic concentrations in the environment. Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 contains genes encoding for a well-characterized Ktr-type K(+) uptake transporter (Ktr) and for a putative ATP-dependent transporter specific for K(+) (Kdp). The contributions of each of these K(+) transport systems to cellular K(+) homeostasis have not yet been defined conclusively. To verify the functionality of Kdp, kdp genes were expressed in E. coli, where Kdp conferred K(+) uptake albeit with lower rates than that of Ktr. The on-chip microfluidic device enabled to monitor the biphasic initial volume recovery of single Synechocystis cells after hyperosmotic shock. Here, Ktr functioned as the primary K(+) uptake system during the first recovery phase, whereas Kdp did not significantly contribute. Expression of the kdp operon was induced by extracellular K(+) depletion in Synechocystis. Correspondingly, Kdp-mediated K(+) uptake supported the cell growth at trace amounts of external potassium. This induction of kdp expression depended on two adjacent genes, hik20 and rre19, encoding for a putative two-component system. The circadian expression of kdp and ktr peaked at subjective dawn, which may support the acquisition of K(+) required for the regular diurnal photosynthetic metabolism. These results indicate that Kdp contributes to maintain a basal intracellular K(+) concentration at limited K(+) in natural environments, whereas Ktr mediates fast potassium movements in the presence of higher K(+) availability. Through their distinct activities both Ktr and Kdp coordinate the responses of Synechocystis to changes in K(+) levels under fluctuating environmental conditions.Journal of Bacteriology 10/2014; 197(4). DOI:10.1128/JB.02276-14 · 2.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Serotonergic neurons of the dorsal raphe nucleus, with their extensive innervation of limbic and higher brain regions and interactions with the endocrine system have important modulatory or regulatory effects on many cognitive, emotional and physiological processes. They have been strongly implicated in responses to stress and in the occurrence of major depressive disorder and other pyschiatric disorders. In order to quantify some of these effects, detailed mathematical models of the activity of such cells are required which describe their complex neurochemistry and neurophysiology. We consider here a single-compartment model of these neurons which is capable of describing many of the known features of spike generation, particularly the slow rhythmic pacemaking activity often observed in these cells in a variety of species. Included in the model are 11 kinds of ion channels: a fast sodium current INa, a delayed rectifier potassium current IKDR, a transient potassium current IA, a slow non-inactivating potassium current IM, a low-threshold calcium current IT, two high threshold calcium currents IL and IN, small and large conductance potassium currents ISK and IBK, a hyperpolarization-activated cation current IH and a leak current ILeak. In Sections 3-8, each current type is considered in detail and parameters estimated from voltage clamp data where possible. Three kinds of model are considered for the BK current and two for the leak current. Intracellular calcium ion concentration Cai is an additional component and calcium dynamics along with buffering and pumping is discussed in Section 9. The remainder of the article contains descriptions of computed solutions which reveal both spontaneous and driven spiking with several parameter sets. Attention is focused on the properties usually associated with these neurons, particularly long duration of action potential, steep upslope on the leading edge of spikes, pacemaker-like spiking, long-lasting afterhyperpolarization and the ramp-like return to threshold after a spike. In some cases the membrane potential trajectories display doublets or have humps or notches as have been reported in some experimental studies. The computed time courses of IA and IT during the interspike interval support the generally held view of a competition between them in influencing the frequency of spiking. Spontaneous activity was facilitated by the presence of IH which has been found in these neurons by some investigators. For reasonable sets of parameters spike frequencies between about 0.6 Hz and 1.2 Hz are obtained, but frequencies as high as 6 Hz could be obtained with special parameter choices. Topics investigated and compared with experiment include shoulders, notches, anodal break phenomena, the effects of noradrenergic input, frequency versus current curves, depolarization block, effects of cell size and the effects of IM. The inhibitory effects of activating 5-HT1A autoreceptors are also investigated. There is a considerable discussion of in vitro versus in vivo firing behavior, with focus on the roles of noradrenergic input, corticotropin-releasing factor and orexinergic inputs. Location of cells within the nucleus is probably a major factor, along with the state of the animal.Progress in Neurobiology 04/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2014.04.001 · 10.30 Impact Factor