[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, circadian timekeeping and resetting have been shown to be largely dependent on both membrane depolarization and intracellular second-messenger signaling. In both of these processes, voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) mediate voltage-dependent calcium influx, which propagates neural impulses by stimulating vesicle fusion and instigates intracellular pathways resulting in clock gene expression. Through the cumulative actions of these processes, the phase of the internal clock is modified to match the light cycle of the external environment. To parse out the distinct roles of the L-type VGCCs, we analyzed mice deficient in Cav1.2 (Cacna1c) in brain tissue. We found that mice deficient in the Cav1.2 channel exhibited a significant reduction in their ability to phase-advance circadian behavior when subjected to a light pulse in the late night. Furthermore, the study revealed that the expression of Cav1.2 mRNA was rhythmic (peaking during the late night) and was regulated by the circadian clock component REV-ERBα. Finally, the induction of clock genes in both the early and late subjective night was affected by the loss of Cav1.2, with reductions in Per2 and Per1 in the early and late night, respectively. In sum, these results reveal a role of the L-type VGCC Cav1.2 in mediating both clock gene expression and phase advances in response to a light pulse in the late night.
Journal of Biological Rhythms 08/2014; 29(4):288-98. · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The function of the nuclear receptor Rev-erbα (Nr1d1) in the brain is, apart from its role in the circadian clock mechanism, unknown. Therefore, we compared gene expression profiles in the brain between wild-type and Rev-erbα knock-out (KO) animals. We identified fatty acid binding protein 7 (Fabp7, Blbp) as a direct target of repression by REV-ERBα. Loss of Rev-erbα manifested in memory and mood related behavioral phenotypes and led to overexpression of Fabp7 in various brain areas including the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampus, where neuronal progenitor cells (NPCs) can initiate adult neurogenesis. We found increased proliferation of hippocampal neurons and loss of its diurnal pattern in Rev-erbα KO mice. In vitro, proliferation and migration of glioblastoma cells were affected by manipulating either Fabp7 expression or REV-ERBα activity. These results suggest an important role of Rev-erbα and Fabp7 in adult neurogenesis, which may open new avenues for treatment of gliomas as well as neurological diseases such as depression and Alzheimer.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(6):e99883. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adaptive thermogenesis allows mammals to resist to cold. For instance, in brown adipose tissue (BAT) the facultative uncoupling of the proton gradient from ATP synthesis in mitochondria is used to generate systemic heat. However, this system necessitates an increase of the Uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) and its activation by free fatty acids. Here we show that mice without functional Period2 (Per2) were cold sensitive because their adaptive thermogenesis system was less efficient. Upon cold-exposure, Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) induced Per2 in the BAT. Subsequently, PER2 as a co-activator of PPARα increased expression of Ucp1. PER2 also increased Fatty acid binding protein 3 (Fabp3), a protein important to transport free fatty acids from the plasma to mitochondria to activate UCP1. Hence, in BAT PER2 is important for the coordination of the molecular response of mice exposed to cold by synchronizing UCP1 expression and its activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interplay between hepatic glycogen metabolism and blood glucose levels is a paradigm of the rhythmic nature of metabolic homeostasis. Here we show that mice lacking a functional PER2 protein (Per2 (Brdm1) ) display reduced fasting glycemia, altered rhythms of hepatic glycogen accumulation, and altered rhythms of food intake. Per2 (Brdm1) mice show reduced hepatic glycogen content and altered circadian expression during controlled fasting and refeeding. Livers from Per2 (Brdm1) mice display reduced glycogen synthase protein levels during refeeding, and increased glycogen phosphorylase activity during fasting. The latter is explained by PER2 action on the expression of the adapter proteins PTG and GL, which target the protein phosphatase-1 to glycogen to decrease glycogen phosphorylase activity. Finally, PER2 interacts with genomic regions of Gys2, PTG, and G L . These results indicate an important role for PER2 in the hepatic transcriptional response to feeding and acute fasting that promotes glucose storage to liver glycogen.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian circadian clocks restrict cell proliferation to defined time windows, but the mechanism and consequences of this interrelationship are not fully understood. Previously we identified the multifunctional nuclear protein NONO as a partner of circadian PERIOD (PER) proteins. Here we show that it also conveys circadian gating to the cell cycle, a connection surprisingly important for wound healing in mice. Specifically, although fibroblasts from NONO-deficient mice showed approximately normal circadian cycles, they displayed elevated cell doubling and lower cellular senescence. At a molecular level, NONO bound to the p16-Ink4A cell cycle checkpoint gene and potentiated its circadian activation in a PER protein-dependent fashion. Loss of either NONO or PER abolished this activation and circadian expression of p16-Ink4A and eliminated circadian cell cycle gating. In vivo, lack of NONO resulted in defective wound repair. Because wound healing defects were also seen in multiple circadian clock-deficient mouse lines, our results therefore suggest that coupling of the cell cycle to the circadian clock via NONO may be useful to segregate in temporal fashion cell proliferation from tissue organization.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2012; · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Factors interacting with core circadian clock components are essential to achieve transcriptional feedback necessary for metazoan clocks. Here we show that all three members of the Drosophila Behavior Human Splicing (DBHS) family of RNA-binding proteins play a role in the mammalian circadian oscillator, abrogating or altering clock function when overexpressed or depleted in cells. Although these proteins are members of so-called nuclear paraspeckles, depletion of paraspeckles themselves via silencing of the structural non-coding RNA (ncRNA) Neat1 did not affect overall clock function, suggesting that paraspeckles are not required for DBHS-mediated circadian effects. Instead, we show that the proteins bound to circadian promoter DNA in a fashion that required the PERIOD (PER) proteins, and potently repressed E box-mediated transcription but not CMV promoter-mediated transcription when exogenously recruited. Nevertheless, mice with one or both copies of these genes deleted show only small changes in period length or clock gene expression in vivo. Data from transient transfections show that each of these proteins can either repress or activate depending on the context. Taken together, our data suggest that all of the DBHS family members serve overlapping or redundant roles as transcriptional cofactors at circadian clock-regulated genes.
Molecular and cellular biology 09/2012; · 6.06 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A hallmark of the mammalian circadian timing system is synchronization of physiology and behavior, but when this synchronization is disturbed, chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and depression may develop. Three new studies show that nuclear receptors of the Rev-Erb family impact the circadian oscillator and its metabolic output and this can be modified with specific agonists. Hence, resynchronization of metabolic pathways by manipulation of the circadian oscillator using REV-ERB-specific agonists may represent a feasible therapeutic concept to target diseases rooted in a misaligned circadian system.
Cell Research 05/2012; 22(9):1319-21. · 10.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diurnal variation in nitrogen homeostasis is observed across phylogeny. But whether these are endogenous rhythms, and if so, molecular mechanisms that link nitrogen homeostasis to the circadian clock remain unknown. Here, we provide evidence that a clock-dependent peripheral oscillator, Krüppel-like factor 15 transcriptionally coordinates rhythmic expression of multiple enzymes involved in mammalian nitrogen homeostasis. In particular, Krüppel-like factor 15-deficient mice exhibit no discernable amino acid rhythm, and the rhythmicity of ammonia to urea detoxification is impaired. Of the external cues, feeding plays a dominant role in modulating Krüppel-like factor 15 rhythm and nitrogen homeostasis. Further, when all behavioral, environmental and dietary cues were controlled in humans, nitrogen homeostasis exhibited an endogenous circadian rhythmicity. Thus, in mammals, nitrogen homeostasis exhibits circadian rhythmicity, and is orchestrated by Krüppel-like factor 15.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sudden cardiac death exhibits diurnal variation in both acquired and hereditary forms of heart disease, but the molecular basis of this variation is unknown. A common mechanism that underlies susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias is abnormalities in the duration (for example, short or long QT syndromes and heart failure) or pattern (for example, Brugada's syndrome) of myocardial repolarization. Here we provide molecular evidence that links circadian rhythms to vulnerability in ventricular arrhythmias in mice. Specifically, we show that cardiac ion-channel expression and QT-interval duration (an index of myocardial repolarization) exhibit endogenous circadian rhythmicity under the control of a clock-dependent oscillator, krüppel-like factor 15 (Klf15). Klf15 transcriptionally controls rhythmic expression of Kv channel-interacting protein 2 (KChIP2), a critical subunit required for generating the transient outward potassium current. Deficiency or excess of Klf15 causes loss of rhythmic QT variation, abnormal repolarization and enhanced susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias. These findings identify circadian transcription of ion channels as a mechanism for cardiac arrhythmogenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The circadian clock is based on a molecular oscillator, which simulates the external day within nearly all of a body's cells. This "internalized" day then defines activity and rest phases for the cells and the organism by generating precise rhythms in the metabolism, physiology, and behavior. In its perfect state, this timing system allows for the synchronization of an organism to its environment and this may optimize energy handling and responses to daily recurring challenges. However, nowadays, we believe that desynchronization of an organism due to its lifestyle or problems with its circadian clock not only causes discomfort but also may aggravate conditions such as depression, metabolic syndrome, addiction, or cancer. In this review, we focus on one simple cogwheel of the mammalian circadian clock, the PERIOD2 (PER2) protein. Originally identified as an integral part of the molecular mechanism that yields overt rhythms of about 24h, more recently multiple other functions have been identified. In essence, the PER proteins, in addition to their important function within the molecular oscillator, can be seen not only as integrators on the input side of the circadian clock but also as mediators of clock output. This diversity in their function is possible, because the PER proteins can interact with a multitude of other proteins transferring oscillator timing information to the latter. In this fashion, the circadian clock synchronizes many rhythmic processes.
Progress in brain research 01/2012; 199:233-45. · 4.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Murine epidermal stem cells undergo alternate cycles of dormancy and activation, fuelling tissue renewal. However, only a subset of stem cells becomes active during each round of morphogenesis, indicating that stem cells coexist in heterogeneous responsive states. Using a circadian-clock reporter-mouse model, here we show that the dormant hair-follicle stem cell niche contains coexisting populations of cells at opposite phases of the clock, which are differentially predisposed to respond to homeostatic cues. The core clock protein Bmal1 modulates the expression of stem cell regulatory genes in an oscillatory manner, to create populations that are either predisposed, or less prone, to activation. Disrupting this clock equilibrium, through deletion of Bmal1 (also known as Arntl) or Per1/2, resulted in a progressive accumulation or depletion of dormant stem cells, respectively. Stem cell arrhythmia also led to premature epidermal ageing, and a reduction in the development of squamous tumours. Our results indicate that the circadian clock fine-tunes the temporal behaviour of epidermal stem cells, and that its perturbation affects homeostasis and the predisposition to tumorigenesis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The liver is the important organ to maintain energy homeostasis of an organism. To achieve this, many biochemical reactions run in this organ in a rhythmic fashion. An elegant way to coordinate the temporal expression of genes for metabolic enzymes relies in the link to the circadian timing system. In this fashion not only a maximum of synchronization is achieved, but also anticipation of daily recurring events is possible. Here we will focus on the input and output pathways of the hepatic circadian oscillator and discuss the recently found flexibility of its circadian transcriptional networks.
Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 06/2011; 349(1):38-44. · 4.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammals, higher order chromatin structures are critical for downsizing the genome (packaging) so that the nucleus can be small. The adjustable density of chromatin also regulates gene expression, thus this post-genetic molecular mechanism is one of the routes by which phenotype is shaped. Phenotypes that arise without a concomitant mutation of the underlying genome are termed epigenetic phenomena. Here we discuss epigenetic phenomena from histone and DNA modification as it pertains to the dynamic regulatory processes of the circadian clock. Epigenetic phenomena certainly explain some regulatory aspects of the mammalian circadian oscillator.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The house mouse Mus musculus represents a valuable tool for the analysis and the understanding of the mammalian circadian oscillator. Forward and reverse genetics allowed the identification of clock components and the verification of their function within the circadian clockwork. In many cases unforeseen links were discovered between a particular circadian regulatory protein and various diseases or syndromes. Thus, this model system is not only perfectly suited to pinpoint the components of the mammalian circadian clock, but also to unravel metabolic, physiological, and pathological processes linked to the circadian timing system.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Direct evidence for the requirement of delay in feedback repression in the mammalian circadian clock has been elusive. Cryptochrome 1 (Cry1), an essential clock component, displays evening-time expression and serves as a strong repressor at morning-time elements (E box/E' box). In this study, we reveal that a combination of day-time elements (D box) within the Cry1-proximal promoter and night-time elements (RREs) within its intronic enhancer gives rise to evening-time expression. A synthetic composite promoter produced evening-time expression, which was further recapitulated by a simple phase-vector model. Of note, coordination of day-time with night-time elements can modulate the extent of phase delay. A genetic complementation assay in Cry1(-/-):Cry2(-/-) cells revealed that substantial delay of Cry1 expression is required to restore circadian rhythmicity, and its prolonged delay slows circadian oscillation. Taken together, our data suggest that phase delay in Cry1 transcription is required for mammalian clock function.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-standing evidence gained from Pax6 mutant embryos pointed to an involvement of Pax6-dependent cell adhesion molecules in patterning the central nervous system and, in particular, the retina. However, direct evidence for such pathways remained elusive. We here present direct evidence that knockdown of Pax6 expression by morpholino antisense molecules in Xenopus embryos and knockdown of maternal N-cadherin (mNcad), N-cadherin (Ncad) and neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) produce similar phenotypes. Eye formation is reduced and retinal lamination is heavily disorganized. In Pax6 knockdown embryos, the levels of mRNAs coding for these cell adhesion molecules are markedly reduced. Overexpression of Pax6 efficiently rescues the phenotype of Pax6 knockdown embryos and restores expression of these putative target genes. Rescue of Pax6-deficiency by the putative target gene mNcad moderately rescues eye formation. The promoters of the genes coding for cell adhesion molecules contain several putative Pax6 binding sites, as determined by computer analysis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation shows that, in embryonic heads, Pax6 binds to promoter regions containing such predicted binding sites. Thus, several cell adhesion molecules are direct target genes of Pax6 and cooperate in retinal patterning.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The recurring light/dark cycle that has a period length of about 24 hours has been internalized in various organisms in the form of a circadian clock. This clock allows a precise orchestration of biochemical and physiological processes in the body thus improving performance. Recently, we found that the clock component PERIOD2 (PER2) can coordinate transcriptional regulation of metabolic, physiological, or behavioral pathways by interacting with nuclear receptors. PER2 appears to act as co-regulator of nuclear receptors linking clock function and transcriptional regulation at the level of protein-protein interactions. Here, we provide additional evidence for modulation of nuclear receptor dependent transcription by PER2 underscoring the broad implication of our finding. Taken together, our findings provide a base for the understanding of various disorders including mood disorders that have their roots in a temporal deregulation of basic metabolic processes.