Reduced anxiety and depression-like behaviours in the circadian period mutant mouse afterhours.
ABSTRACT: Disruption of the circadian rhythm is a key feature of bipolar disorder. Variation in genes encoding components of the molecular circadian clock has been associated with increased risk of the disorder in clinical populations. Similarly in animal models, disruption of the circadian clock can result in altered mood and anxiety which resemble features of human mania; including hyperactivity, reduced anxiety and reduced depression-like behaviour. One such mutant, after hours (Afh), an ENU-derived mutant with a mutation in a recently identified circadian clock gene Fbxl3, results in a disturbed (long) circadian rhythm of approximately 27 hours.Anxiety, exploratory and depression-like behaviours were evaluated in Afh mice using the open-field, elevated plus maze, light-dark box, holeboard and forced swim test. To further validate findings for human mania, polymorphisms in the human homologue of FBXL3, genotyped by three genome wide case control studies, were tested for association with bipolar disorder.Afh mice showed reduced anxiety- and depression-like behaviour in all of the behavioural tests employed, and some evidence of increased locomotor activity in some tests. An analysis of three separate human data sets revealed a gene wide association between variation in FBXL3 and bipolar disorder (P = 0.009).Our results are consistent with previous studies of mutants with extended circadian periods and suggest that disruption of FBXL3 is associated with mania-like behaviours in both mice and humans.
Project description:Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) neurons contain an intracellular molecular circadian clock and the Cryptochromes (CRY1/2), key transcriptional repressors of this molecular apparatus, are subject to post-translational modification through ubiquitination and targeting for proteosomal degradation by the ubiquitin E3 ligase complex. Loss-of-function point mutations in a component of this ligase complex, Fbxl3, delay CRY1/2 degradation, reduce circadian rhythm strength, and lengthen the circadian period by ∼2.5 h. The molecular clock drives circadian changes in the membrane properties of SCN neurons, but it is unclear how alterations in CRY1/2 stability affect SCN neurophysiology. Here we use male and female Afterhours mice which carry the circadian period lengthening loss-of-function Fbxl3Afh mutation and perform patch-clamp recordings from SCN brain slices across the projected day/night cycle. We find that the daily rhythm in membrane excitability in the ventral SCN (vSCN) was enhanced in amplitude and delayed in timing in Fbxl3Afh/Afh mice. At night, vSCN cells from Fbxl3Afh/Afh mice were more hyperpolarized, receiving more GABAergic input than their Fbxl3+/+ counterparts. Unexpectedly, the progression to daytime hyperexcited states was slowed by Afh mutation, whereas the decline to hypoexcited states was accelerated. In long-term bioluminescence recordings, GABAA receptor blockade desynchronized the Fbxl3+/+ but not the Fbxl3Afh/Afh vSCN neuronal network. Further, a neurochemical mimic of the light input pathway evoked larger shifts in molecular clock rhythms in Fbxl3Afh/Afh compared with Fbxl3+/+ SCN slices. These results reveal unanticipated consequences of delaying CRY degradation, indicating that the Afh mutation prolongs nighttime hyperpolarized states of vSCN cells through increased GABAergic synaptic transmission.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The intracellular molecular clock drives changes in SCN neuronal excitability, but it is unclear how mutations affecting post-translational modification of molecular clock proteins influence the temporal expression of SCN neuronal state or intercellular communication within the SCN network. Here we show for the first time, that a mutation that prolongs the stability of key components of the intracellular clock, the cryptochrome proteins, unexpectedly increases in the expression of hypoexcited neuronal state in the ventral SCN at night and enhances hyperpolarization of ventral SCN neurons at this time. This is accompanied by increased GABAergic signaling and by enhanced responsiveness to a neurochemical mimic of the light input pathway to the SCN. Therefore, post-translational modification shapes SCN neuronal state and network properties.
Project description:Circadian rhythms and the genes that make up the molecular clock have long been implicated in bipolar disorder. Genetic evidence in bipolar patients suggests that the central transcriptional activator of molecular rhythms, CLOCK, may be particularly important. However, the exact role of this gene in the development of this disorder remains unclear. Here we show that mice carrying a mutation in the Clock gene display an overall behavioral profile that is strikingly similar to human mania, including hyperactivity, decreased sleep, lowered depression-like behavior, lower anxiety, and an increase in the reward value for cocaine, sucrose, and medial forebrain bundle stimulation. Chronic administration of the mood stabilizer lithium returns many of these behavioral responses to wild-type levels. In addition, the Clock mutant mice have an increase in dopaminergic activity in the ventral tegmental area, and their behavioral abnormalities are rescued by expressing a functional CLOCK protein via viral-mediated gene transfer specifically in the ventral tegmental area. These findings establish the Clock mutant mice as a previously unrecognized model of human mania and reveal an important role for CLOCK in the dopaminergic system in regulating behavior and mood.
Project description:Circadian clock is known to adapt to environmental changes and can significantly influence cognitive and physiological functions. In this work, we report specific behavioral, cognitive, and sleep homeostatic defects in the after hours (Afh) circadian mouse mutant, which is characterized by lengthened circadian period. We found that the circadian timing irregularities in Afh mice resulted in higher interval timing uncertainty and suboptimal decisions due to incapability of processing probabilities. Our phenotypic observations further suggested that Afh mutants failed to exhibit the necessary phenotypic plasticity for adapting to temporal changes at multiple time scales (seconds-to-minutes to circadian). These behavioral effects of Afh mutation were complemented by the specific disruption of the Per/Cry circadian regulatory complex in brain regions that govern food anticipatory behaviors, sleep, and timing. We derive statistical predictions, which indicate that circadian clock and sleep are complementary processes in controlling behavioral/cognitive performance during 24 hrs. The results of this study have pivotal implications for understanding how the circadian clock modulates sleep and behavior.
Project description:Alterations in anxiety-related processing are observed across many neuropsychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder. Though polymorphisms in a number of circadian genes confer risk for this disorder, little is known about how changes in circadian gene function disrupt brain circuits critical for anxiety-related processing. Here we characterize neurophysiological activity simultaneously across five limbic brain areas (nucleus accumbens, amygdala, prelimbic cortex, ventral hippocampus, and ventral tegmental area) as wild-type (WT) mice and mice with a mutation in the circadian gene, CLOCK (Clock-?19 mice) perform an elevated zero maze task. In WT mice, basal limbic gamma oscillatory synchrony observed before task performance predicted future anxiety-related behaviors. Additionally, dynamic changes in limbic gamma oscillatory synchrony were observed based on the position of WT mice in the zero maze. Clock-?19 mice, which displayed an increased propensity to enter the open section of the elevated maze, showed profound deficits in these anxiety-related circuit processes. Thus, our findings link the anxiety-related behavioral deficits observed in Clock-?19 mice with dysfunctional gamma oscillatory tuning across limbic circuits and suggest that alterations in limbic oscillatory circuit function induced by circadian gene polymorphisms may contribute to the behavioral manifestations seen in bipolar mania.
Project description:Circadian rhythm abnormalities are strongly associated with bipolar disorder; however the role of circadian genes in mood regulation is unclear. Previously, we reported that mice with a mutation in the Clock gene (ClockDelta19) display a behavioral profile that is strikingly similar to bipolar patients in the manic state.Here, we used RNA interference and viral-mediated gene transfer to knock down Clock expression specifically in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of mice. We then performed a variety of behavioral, molecular, and physiological measures.We found that knockdown of Clock, specifically in the VTA, results in hyperactivity and a reduction in anxiety-related behavior, which is similar to the phenotype of the ClockDelta19 mice. However, VTA-specific knockdown also results in a substantial increase in depression-like behavior, creating an overall mixed manic state. Surprisingly, VTA knockdown of Clock also altered circadian period and amplitude, suggesting a role for Clock in the VTA in the regulation of circadian rhythms. Furthermore, VTA dopaminergic neurons expressing the Clock short hairpin RNA have increased activity compared with control neurons, and this knockdown alters the expression of multiple ion channels and dopamine-related genes in the VTA that could be responsible for the physiological and behavioral changes in these mice.Taken together, these results suggest an important role for Clock in the VTA in the regulation of dopaminergic activity, manic and depressive-like behavior, and circadian rhythms.
Project description:The circadian clock comprises a set of genes involved in cell-autonomous transcriptional feedback loops that orchestrate the expression of a range of downstream genes, driving circadian patterns of behavior. Cognitive dysfunction, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse disorders have been associated with disruptions in circadian rhythm and circadian clock genes, but the causal relationship of these associations is still poorly understood. In the present study, we investigate the effect of genetic disruption of the circadian clock, through deletion of both paralogs of the core gene cryptochrome (Cry1 and Cry2). Mice lacking Cry1 and Cry2 (Cry1(-/-)Cry2(-/-) ) displayed attenuated dark phase and novelty-induced locomotor activity. Moreover, they showed impaired recognition memory but intact fear memory. Depression-related behaviors in the forced swim test or sucrose preference tests were unaffected but Cry1(-/-)Cry2(-/-) mice displayed increased anxiety in the open field and elevated plus maze tests. Finally, hyperlocomotion and striatal phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) induced by a single cocaine administration are strongly reduced in Cry1(-/-)Cry2(-/-) mice. Interestingly, only some behavioral measures were affected in mice lacking either Cry1 or Cry2. Notably, recognition memory was impaired in both Cry1(-/-)Cry2(+/+) and Cry1(+/+)Cry2(-/-) mice. Moreover, we further observed elevated anxiety in Cry1(-/-)Cry2(+/+) and Cry1(+/+)Cry2(-/-) mice. Our data indicate that beyond their role in the control of circadian rhythm, cryptochrome genes have a direct influence in cognitive function, anxiety-related behaviors and sensitivity to psychostimulant drugs.
Project description:Mammalian physiology and behavior are regulated by an internal time-keeping system, referred to as circadian rhythm. The circadian timing system has a hierarchical organization composed of the master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and local clocks in extra-SCN brain regions and peripheral organs. The circadian clock molecular mechanism involves a network of transcription-translation feedback loops. In addition to the clinical association between circadian rhythm disruption and mood disorders, recent studies have suggested a molecular link between mood regulation and circadian rhythm. Specifically, genetic deletion of the circadian nuclear receptor Rev-erbα induces mania-like behavior caused by increased midbrain dopaminergic (DAergic) tone at dusk. The association between circadian rhythm and emotion-related behaviors can be applied to pathological conditions, including neurodegenerative diseases. In Parkinson's disease (PD), DAergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta progressively degenerate leading to motor dysfunction. Patients with PD also exhibit non-motor symptoms, including sleep disorder and neuropsychiatric disorders. Thus, it is important to understand the mechanisms that link the molecular circadian clock and brain machinery in the regulation of emotional behaviors and related midbrain DAergic neuronal circuits in healthy and pathological states. This review summarizes the current literature regarding the association between circadian rhythm and mood regulation from a chronobiological perspective, and may provide insight into therapeutic approaches to target psychiatric symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases involving circadian rhythm dysfunction.
Project description:In mammals, the circadian clock relies on interlocked feedback loops involving clock genes and their protein products. Post-translational modifications control intracellular trafficking, functionality and degradation of clock proteins and are keys to the functioning of the clock as recently exemplified for the F-Box protein Fbxl3. The SCF(Fbxl3) complex directs degradation of CRY1/2 proteins and Fbxl3 murine mutants have a slower clock. To assess whether the role of Fbxl3 is phylogenetically conserved, we investigated its function in the sheep, a diurnal ungulate. Our data show that Fbxl3 function is conserved and further reveal that its closest homologue, the F-Box protein Fbxl21, also binds to CRY1 which impairs its repressive action towards the transcriptional activators CLOCK/BMAL1. However, while Fbxl3 appears to be ubiquitously expressed, Fbxl21 expression is tissue-specific. Furthermore, and in sharp contrast with Fbxl3, Fbxl21 is highly expressed within the suprachiasmatic nuclei, site of the master clock, where it displays marked circadian oscillations apparently driven by members of the PAR-bZIP family. Finally, for both Fbxl3 and Fbxl21 we identified and functionally characterized novel splice-variants, which might reduce CRY1 proteasomal degradation dependent on cell context. Altogether, these data establish Fbxl21 as a novel circadian clock-controlled gene that plays a specific role within the mammalian circadian pacemaker.
Project description:Polymorphisms in circadian genes such as CLOCK convey risk for bipolar disorder. While studies have begun to elucidate the molecular mechanism whereby disruption of Clock alters cellular function within mesolimbic brain regions, little remains known about how these changes alter gross neural circuit function and generate mania-like behaviors in Clock-?19 mice. Here we show that the phasic entrainment of nucleus accumbens (NAC) low-gamma (30-55 Hz) oscillations to delta (1-4 Hz) oscillations is negatively correlated with the extent to which wild-type (WT) mice explore a novel environment. Clock-?19 mice, which display hyperactivity in the novel environment, exhibit profound deficits in low-gamma and NAC single-neuron phase coupling. We also demonstrate that NAC neurons in Clock-?19 mice display complex changes in dendritic morphology and reduced GluR1 expression compared to those observed in WT littermates. Chronic lithium treatment ameliorated several of these neurophysiological deficits and suppressed exploratory drive in the mutants. These results demonstrate that disruptions of Clock gene function are sufficient to promote alterations in NAC microcircuits, and raise the hypothesis that dysfunctional NAC phase signaling may contribute to the mania-like behavioral manifestations that result from diminished circadian gene function.
Project description:The mammalian circadian clock is composed of interlocking feedback loops. Cryptochrome is a central component in the core negative feedback loop, whereas Rev-Erb?, a member of the nuclear receptor family, is an essential component of the interlocking loop. To understand the roles of different clock genes, we conducted a genetic interaction screen by generating single- and double-mutant mice. We found that the deletion of Rev-erb? in F-box/leucine rich-repeat protein (Fbxl3)-deficient mice rescued its long-circadian period phenotype, and our results further revealed that FBXL3 regulates Rev-Erb/retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor-binding element (RRE)-mediated transcription by inactivating the Rev-Erb?:histone deacetylase 3 corepressor complex. By analyzing the Fbxl3 and Cryptochrome 1 double-mutant mice, we found that FBXL3 also regulates the amplitudes of E-box-driven gene expression. These two separate roles of FBXL3 in circadian feedback loops provide a mechanism that contributes to the period determination and robustness of the clock.