Ambient temperature response establishes ELF3 as a required component of the core Arabidopsis circadian clock.
ABSTRACT: Circadian clocks synchronize internal processes with environmental cycles to ensure optimal timing of biological events on daily and seasonal time scales. External light and temperature cues set the core molecular oscillator to local conditions. In Arabidopsis, EARLY FLOWERING 3 (ELF3) is thought to act as an evening-specific repressor of light signals to the clock, thus serving a zeitnehmer function. Circadian rhythms were examined in completely dark-grown, or etiolated, null elf3-1 seedlings, with the clock entrained by thermocycles, to evaluate whether the elf3 mutant phenotype was light-dependent. Circadian rhythms were absent from etiolated elf3-1 seedlings after exposure to temperature cycles, and this mutant failed to exhibit classic indicators of entrainment by temperature cues, consistent with global clock dysfunction or strong perturbation of temperature signaling in this background. Warm temperature pulses failed to elicit acute induction of temperature-responsive genes in elf3-1. In fact, warm temperature-responsive genes remained in a constitutively "ON" state because of clock dysfunction and, therefore, were insensitive to temperature signals in the normal time of day-specific manner. These results show ELF3 is broadly required for circadian clock function regardless of light conditions, where ELF3 activity is needed by the core oscillator to allow progression from day to night during either light or temperature entrainment. Furthermore, robust circadian rhythms appear to be a prerequisite for etiolated seedlings to respond correctly to temperature signals.
Project description:The circadian clock of Neurospora broadly regulates gene expression and is synchronized with the environment through molecular responses to changes in ambient light and temperature. It is generally understood that light entrainment of the clock depends on a functional circadian oscillator comprising the products of the wc-1 and wc-2 genes as well as those of the frq gene (the FRQ/WCC oscillator). However, various models have been advanced to explain temperature regulation. In nature, light and temperature cues reinforce one another such that transitions from dark to light and/or cold to warm set the clock to subjective morning. In some models, the FRQ/WCC circadian oscillator is seen as essential for temperature-entrained clock-controlled output; alternatively, this oscillator is seen exclusively as part of the light pathway mediating entrainment of a cryptic "driving oscillator" that mediates all temperature-entrained rhythmicity, in addition to providing the impetus for circadian oscillations in general. To identify novel clock-controlled genes and to examine these models, we have analyzed gene expression on a broad scale using cDNA microarrays. Between 2.7 and 5.9% of genes were rhythmically expressed with peak expression in the subjective morning. A total of 1.4-1.8% of genes responded consistently to temperature entrainment; all are clock controlled and all required the frq gene for this clock-regulated expression even under temperature-entrainment conditions. These data are consistent with a role for frq in the control of temperature-regulated gene expression in N. crassa and suggest that the circadian feedback loop may also serve as a sensor for small changes in ambient temperature.
Project description:The circadian clock coordinates daily physiological, metabolic and behavioural rhythms. These endogenous oscillations are synchronized with external cues ('zeitgebers'), such as daily light and temperature cycles. When the circadian clock is entrained by a zeitgeber, the phase difference ? between the phase of a clock-controlled rhythm and the phase of the zeitgeber is of fundamental importance for the fitness of the organism. The phase of entrainment ? depends on the mismatch between the intrinsic period ? and the zeitgeber period T and on the ratio of the zeitgeber strength to oscillator amplitude. Motivated by the intriguing complexity of empirical data and by our own experiments on temperature entrainment of mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) slices, we present a theory on how clock and zeitgeber properties determine the phase of entrainment. The wide applicability of the theory is demonstrated using mathematical models of different complexity as well as by experimental data. Predictions of the theory are confirmed by published data on Neurospora crassa strains for different period mismatches ? - T and varying photoperiods. We apply a novel regression technique to analyse entrainment of SCN slices by temperature cycles. We find that mathematical models can explain not only the stable asymptotic phase of entrainment, but also transient phase dynamics. Our theory provides the potential to explore seasonal variations of circadian rhythms, jet lag and shift work in forthcoming studies.
Project description:Circadian clocks are internal timekeepers present in almost all organisms. Driven by a genetic network of highly conserved structure, they generate self-sustained oscillations that entrain to periodic external signals such as the 24 h light-dark cycle. Vertebrates possess multiple, functionally overlapping homologues of the core clock genes. Furthermore, vertebrate clocks entrain to a range of periods three times as narrow as that of other organisms. We asked whether genetic redundancies play a role in governing entrainment properties and analysed locomotor activity rhythms of genetically modified mice lacking one set of clock homologues. Exposing them to non-24 h light-dark cycles, we found that the mutant mice have a wider entrainment range than the wild types. Spectral analysis furthermore revealed nonlinear phenomena of periodically forced self-sustained oscillators for which the entrainment range relates inversely to oscillator amplitude. Using the forced oscillator model to explain the observed differences in entrainment range between mutant and wild-type mice, we sought to quantify the overall oscillator amplitude of their clocks from the activity rhythms and found that mutant mice have weaker circadian clocks than wild types. Our results suggest that genetic redundancy strengthens the circadian clock leading to a narrow entrainment range in vertebrates.
Project description:Circadian clocks responsible for daily time keeping in a wide range of organisms synchronize to daily temperature cycles via pathways that remain poorly understood. To address this problem from the perspective of the molecular oscillator, we monitored temperature-dependent resetting of four of its core components in the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster: the transcripts and proteins for the clock genes period (per) and timeless (tim). The molecular circadian cycle in adult heads exhibited parallel responses to temperature-mediated resetting at the levels of per transcript, tim transcript and TIM protein. Early phase adjustment specific to per transcript rhythms was explained by clock-independent temperature-driven transcription of per. The cold-induced expression of Drosophila per contrasts with the previously reported heat-induced regulation of mammalian Period 2. An altered and more readily re-entrainable temperature-synchronized circadian oscillator that featured temperature-driven per transcript rhythms and phase-shifted TIM and PER protein rhythms was found for flies of the 'Tim 4' genotype, which lacked daily tim transcript oscillations but maintained post-transcriptional temperature entrainment of tim expression. The accelerated molecular and behavioural temperature entrainment observed for Tim 4 flies indicates that clock-controlled tim expression constrains the rate of temperature cycle-mediated circadian resetting.
Project description:When food is plentiful, circadian rhythms of animals are powerfully entrained by the light-dark cycle. However, if animals have access to food only during their normal sleep cycle, they will shift most of their circadian rhythms to match the food availability. We studied the basis for entrainment of circadian rhythms by food and light in mice with targeted disruption of the clock gene Bmal1, which lack circadian rhythmicity. Injection of a viral vector containing the Bmal1 gene into the suprachiasmatic nuclei of the hypothalamus restored light-entrainable, but not food-entrainable, circadian rhythms. In contrast, restoration of the Bmal1 gene only in the dorsomedial hypothalamic nucleus restored the ability of animals to entrain to food but not to light. These results demonstrate that the dorsomedial hypothalamus contains a Bmal1-based oscillator that can drive food entrainment of circadian rhythms.
Project description:Circadian clocks are aligned to the environment via synchronizing signals, or Zeitgebers, such as daily light and temperature cycles, food availability, and social behavior. In this study, we found that genome-wide expression profiles from temperature-entrained flies show a dramatic difference in the presence or absence of a thermocycle. Whereas transcript levels appear to be modified broadly by changes in temperature, there is a specific set of temperature-entrained circadian mRNA profiles that continue to oscillate in constant conditions. There are marked differences in the biological functions represented by temperature-driven or circadian regulation. The set of temperature-entrained circadian transcripts overlaps significantly with a previously defined set of transcripts oscillating in response to a photocycle. In follow-up studies, all thermocycle-entrained circadian transcript rhythms also responded to light/dark entrainment, whereas some photocycle-entrained rhythms did not respond to temperature entrainment. Transcripts encoding the clock components Period, Timeless, Clock, Vrille, PAR-domain protein 1, and Cryptochrome were all confirmed to be rhythmic after entrainment to a daily thermocycle, although the presence of a thermocycle resulted in an unexpected phase difference between period and timeless expression rhythms at the transcript but not the protein level. Generally, transcripts that exhibit circadian rhythms both in response to thermocycles and photocycles maintained the same mutual phase relationships after entrainment by temperature or light. Comparison of the collective temperature- and light-entrained circadian phases of these transcripts indicates that natural environmental light and temperature cycles cooperatively entrain the circadian clock. This interpretation is further supported by comparative analysis of the circadian phases observed for temperature-entrained and light-entrained circadian locomotor behavior. Taken together, these findings suggest that information from both light and temperature is integrated by the transcriptional clock mechanism in the adult fly head.
Project description:The plant circadian clock is an internal timekeeper that coordinates biological processes with daily changes in the external environment. The transcript levels of clock genes, which oscillate to control circadian outputs, were examined during early seedling development in barley (Hordeum vulgare), a model for temperate cereal crops. Oscillations of clock gene transcript levels do not occur in barley seedlings grown in darkness or constant light but were observed with day-night cycles. A dark-to-light transition influenced transcript levels of some clock genes but triggered only weak oscillations of gene expression, whereas a light-to-dark transition triggered robust oscillations. Single light pulses of 6, 12 or 18 hours induced robust oscillations. The light-to-dark transition was the primary determinant of the timing of subsequent peaks of clock gene expression. After the light-to-dark transition the timing of peak transcript levels of clock gene also varied depending on the length of the preceding light pulse. Thus, a single photoperiod can trigger initiation of photoperiod-dependent circadian rhythms in barley seedlings. Photoperiod-specific rhythms of clock gene expression were observed in two week old barley plants. Changing the timing of dusk altered clock gene expression patterns within a single day, showing that alteration of circadian oscillator behaviour is amongst the most rapid molecular responses to changing photoperiod in barley. A barley EARLY FLOWERING3 mutant, which exhibits rapid photoperiod-insensitive flowering behaviour, does not establish clock rhythms in response to a single photoperiod. The data presented show that dawn and dusk cues are important signals for setting the state of the circadian oscillator during early development of barley and that the circadian oscillator of barley exhibits photoperiod-dependent oscillation states.
Project description:Circadian clocks provide a competitive advantage in an environment that is heavily influenced by the rotation of the Earth, by driving daily rhythms in behaviour, physiology and metabolism in bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. Circadian clocks comprise transcription-translation feedback loops, which are entrained by environmental signals such as light and temperature to adjust the phase of rhythms to match the local environment. The production of sugars by photosynthesis is a key metabolic output of the circadian clock in plants. Here we show that these rhythmic, endogenous sugar signals can entrain circadian rhythms in Arabidopsis thaliana by regulating the gene expression of circadian clock components early in the photoperiod, thus defining a 'metabolic dawn'. By inhibiting photosynthesis, we demonstrate that endogenous oscillations in sugar levels provide metabolic feedback to the circadian oscillator through the morning-expressed gene PSEUDO-RESPONSE REGULATOR 7 (PRR7), and we identify that prr7 mutants are insensitive to the effects of sucrose on the circadian period. Thus, photosynthesis has a marked effect on the entrainment and maintenance of robust circadian rhythms in A. thaliana, demonstrating that metabolism has a crucial role in regulation of the circadian clock.
Project description:Circadian rhythms enable cells and organisms to coordinate their physiology with the cyclic environmental changes that come as a result of Earth's light/dark cycles. Cyanobacteria make use of a post-translational oscillator to maintain circadian rhythms, and this elegant system has become an important model for circadian timekeeping mechanisms. Composed of three proteins, the KaiABC system undergoes an oscillatory biochemical cycle that provides timing cues to achieve a 24-h molecular clock. Together with the input/output proteins SasA, CikA, and RpaA, these six gene products account for the timekeeping, entrainment, and output signaling functions in cyanobacterial circadian rhythms. This Minireview summarizes the current structural, functional and mechanistic insights into the cyanobacterial circadian clock.
Project description:Circadian clocks are endogenous oscillators driving daily rhythms in physiology and behavior. Synchronization of these timers to environmental light-dark cycles ('entrainment') is crucial for an organism's fitness. Little is known about which oscillator qualities determine entrainment, i.e., entrainment range, phase and amplitude. In a systematic theoretical and experimental study, we uncovered these qualities for circadian oscillators in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN-the master clock in mammals) and the lung (a peripheral clock): (i) the ratio between stimulus (zeitgeber) strength and oscillator amplitude and (ii) the rigidity of the oscillatory system (relaxation rate upon perturbation) determine entrainment properties. Coupling among oscillators affects both qualities resulting in increased amplitude and rigidity. These principles explain our experimental findings that lung clocks entrain to extreme zeitgeber cycles, whereas SCN clocks do not. We confirmed our theoretical predictions by showing that pharmacological inhibition of coupling in the SCN leads to larger ranges of entrainment. These differences between master and the peripheral clocks suggest that coupling-induced rigidity in the SCN filters environmental noise to create a robust circadian system.