[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because the transcription factor neuronal Per-Arnt-Sim-type signal-sensor protein-domain protein 2 (NPAS2) acts both as a sensor and an effector of intracellular energy balance, and because sleep is thought to correct an energy imbalance incurred during waking, we examined NPAS2's role in sleep homeostasis using npas2 knockout (npas2-/-) mice. We found that, under conditions of increased sleep need, i.e., at the end of the active period or after sleep deprivation (SD), NPAS2 allows for sleep to occur at times when mice are normally awake. Lack of npas2 affected electroencephalogram activity of thalamocortical origin; during non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREMS), activity in the spindle range (10-15 Hz) was reduced, and within the delta range (1-4 Hz), activity shifted toward faster frequencies. In addition, the increase in the cortical expression of the NPAS2 target gene period2 (per2) after SD was attenuated in npas2-/- mice. This implies that NPAS2 importantly contributes to the previously documented wake-dependent increase in cortical per2 expression. The data also revealed numerous sex differences in sleep; in females, sleep need accumulated at a slower rate, and REMS loss was not recovered after SD. In contrast, the rebound in NREMS time after SD was compromised only in npas2-/- males. We conclude that NPAS2 plays a role in sleep homeostasis, most likely at the level of the thalamus and cortex, where NPAS2 is abundantly expressed.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2006; 103(18):7118-23. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The neuronal PAS domain protein 3 (NPAS3) gene encoding a brain-enriched transcription factor was recently found to be disrupted in a family suffering from schizophrenia. Mice harboring compound disruptions in the NPAS3 and related NPAS1 genes manifest behavioral and neuroanatomical abnormalities reminiscent of schizophrenia. Herein we demonstrate that Npas3-/- mice are deficient in expression of hippocampal FGF receptor subtype 1 mRNA, most notably in the dentate gyrus. In vivo BrdUrd-labeling shows that basal neural precursor cell proliferation in the dentate gyrus of Npas3-/- mice is reduced by 84% relative to wild-type littermates. We propose that a deficiency in adult neurogenesis may cause the behavioral and neuroanatomical abnormalities seen in Npas3-/- mice, and we speculate that impaired neurogenesis may be involved in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2005; 102(39):14052-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Laboratory mice bearing inactivating mutations in the genes encoding the NPAS1 and NPAS3 transcription factors have been shown to exhibit a spectrum of behavioral and neurochemical abnormalities. Behavioral abnormalities included diminished startle response, as measured by prepulse inhibition, and impaired social recognition. NPAS1/NPAS3-deficient mice also exhibited stereotypic darting behavior at weaning and increased locomotor activity. Immunohistochemical staining assays showed that the NPAS1 and NPAS3 proteins are expressed in inhibitory interneurons and that the viability and anatomical distribution of these neurons are unaffected by the absence of either transcription factor. Adult brain tissues from NPAS3- and NPAS1/NPAS3-deficient mice exhibited a distinct reduction in reelin, a large, secreted protein whose expression has been reported to be attenuated in the postmortem brain tissue of patients with schizophrenia. These observations raise the possibility that a regulatory program controlled in inhibitory interneurons by the NPAS1 and NPAS3 transcription factors may be either substantively or tangentially relevant to psychosis.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2004; 101(37):13648-53. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Animal behavior is synchronized to the 24-hour light:dark (LD) cycle by regulatory programs that produce circadian fluctuations in gene expression throughout the body. In mammals, the transcription factor CLOCK controls circadian oscillation in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain; its paralog, neuronal PAS domain protein 2 (NPAS2), performs a similar function in other forebrain sites. To investigate the role of NPAS2 in behavioral manifestations of circadian rhythm, we studied locomotor activity, sleep patterns, and adaptability to both light- and restricted food-driven entrainment in NPAS2-deficient mice. Our results indicate that NPAS2 plays a substantive role in maintaining circadian behaviors in normal LD and feeding conditions and that NPAS2 is critical for adaptability to food restriction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neuronal PAS domain protein 2 (NPAS2) is a transcription factor expressed primarily in the mammalian forebrain. NPAS2 is highly related in primary amino acid sequence to Clock, a transcription factor expressed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus that heterodimerizes with BMAL1 and regulates circadian rhythm. To investigate the biological role of NPAS2, we prepared a neuroblastoma cell line capable of conditional induction of the NPAS2:BMAL1 heterodimer and identified putative target genes by representational difference analysis, DNA microarrays, and Northern blotting. Coinduction of NPAS2 and BMAL1 activated transcription of the endogenous Per1, Per2, and Cry1 genes, which encode negatively activating components of the circadian regulatory apparatus, and repressed transcription of the endogenous BMAL1 gene. Analysis of the frontal cortex of wild-type mice kept in a 24-hour light-dark cycle revealed that Per1, Per2, and Cry1 mRNA levels were elevated during darkness and reduced during light, whereas BMAL1 mRNA displayed the opposite pattern. In situ hybridization assays of mice kept in constant darkness revealed that Per2 mRNA abundance did not oscillate as a function of the circadian cycle in NPAS2-deficient mice. Thus, NPAS2 likely functions as part of a molecular clock operative in the mammalian forebrain.