Competing E3 ubiquitin ligases govern circadian periodicity by degradation of CRY in nucleus and cytoplasm.
ABSTRACT: Period determination in the mammalian circadian clock involves the turnover rate of the repressors CRY and PER. We show that CRY ubiquitination engages two competing E3 ligase complexes that either lengthen or shorten circadian period in mice. Cloning of a short-period circadian mutant, Past-time, revealed a glycine to glutamate missense mutation in Fbxl21, an F-box protein gene that is a paralog of Fbxl3 that targets the CRY proteins for degradation. While loss of function of FBXL3 leads to period lengthening, mutation of Fbxl21 causes period shortening. FBXL21 forms an SCF E3 ligase complex that slowly degrades CRY in the cytoplasm but antagonizes the stronger E3 ligase activity of FBXL3 in the nucleus. FBXL21 plays a dual role: protecting CRY from FBXL3 degradation in the nucleus and promoting CRY degradation within the cytoplasm. Thus, the balance and cellular compartmentalization of competing E3 ligases for CRY determine circadian period of the clock in mammals.
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:Using a forward genetics ENU mutagenesis screen for recessive mutations that affect circadian rhythmicity in the mouse, we isolated a long period (approximately 26 hr) circadian mutant named Overtime (Ovtm). Positional cloning and genetic complementation reveal that Ovtm is encoded by the F-box protein FBXL3, a component of the SKP1-CUL1-F-box-protein (SCF) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex. The Ovtm mutation causes an isoleucine to threonine (I364T) substitution leading to a loss of function in FBXL3, which interacts specifically with the CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) proteins. In Ovtm mice, expression of the PERIOD proteins PER1 and PER2 is reduced; however, the CRY proteins CRY1 and CRY2 are unchanged. The loss of FBXL3 function leads to a stabilization of the CRY proteins, which in turn leads to a global transcriptional repression of the Per and Cry genes. Thus, Fbxl3(Ovtm) defines a molecular link between CRY turnover and CLOCK/BMAL1-dependent circadian transcription to modulate circadian period.
Project description:Mammalian Cryptochromes, CRY1 and CRY2, function as principal regulators of a transcription-translation-based negative feedback loop underlying the mammalian circadian clockwork. An F-box protein, FBXL3, promotes ubiquitination and degradation of CRYs, while FBXL21, the closest paralog of FBXL3, ubiquitinates CRYs but leads to stabilization of CRYs. Fbxl3 knockout extremely lengthened the circadian period, and deletion of Fbxl21 gene in Fbxl3-deficient mice partially rescued the period-lengthening phenotype, suggesting a key role of CRY protein stability for maintenance of the circadian periodicity. Here, we employed a proteomics strategy to explore regulators for the protein stability of CRYs. We found that ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7 also known as HAUSP) associates with CRY1 and CRY2 and stabilizes CRYs through deubiquitination. Treatment with USP7-specific inhibitor or Usp7 knockdown shortened the circadian period of the cellular rhythm. We identified another CRYs-interacting protein, TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43), an RNA-binding protein. TDP-43 stabilized CRY1 and CRY2, and its knockdown also shortened the circadian period in cultured cells. The present study identified USP7 and TDP-43 as the regulators of CRY1 and CRY2, underscoring the significance of the stability control process of CRY proteins for period determination in the mammalian circadian clockwork.
Project description:Cryptochrome (CRY) proteins play an essential role in regulating mammalian circadian rhythms. CRY is composed of a structured N-terminal domain known as the photolyase homology region (PHR), which is tethered to an intrinsically disordered C-terminal tail. The PHR domain is a critical hub for binding other circadian clock components such as CLOCK, BMAL1, PERIOD, or the ubiquitin ligases FBXL3 and FBXL21. While the isolated PHR domain is necessary and sufficient to generate circadian rhythms, removing or modifying the cryptochrome tails modulates the amplitude and/or periodicity of circadian rhythms, suggesting that they play important regulatory roles in the molecular circadian clock. In this commentary, we will discuss how recent studies of these intrinsically disordered tails are helping to establish a general and evolutionarily conserved model for CRY function, where the function of PHR domains is modulated by reversible interactions with their intrinsically disordered tails. Video abstract.
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:FBXL21 is a clock-controlled E3 ligase modulating circadian periodicity via subcellular-specific CRYPTOCHROME degradation. How FBXL21 regulates tissue-specific circadian physiology and what mechanism operates upstream is poorly understood. Here we report the sarcomere component TCAP as a cytoplasmic substrate of FBXL21. FBXL21 interacts with TCAP in a circadian manner antiphasic to TCAP accumulation in skeletal muscle, and circadian TCAP oscillation is disrupted in Psttm mice with an Fbxl21 hypomorph mutation. GSK-3β phosphorylates FBXL21 and TCAP to activate FBXL21-mediated, phosphodegron-dependent TCAP degradation. GSK-3β inhibition or knockdown diminishes FBXL21-Cul1 complex formation and delays FBXL21-mediated TCAP degradation. Finally, Psttm mice show significant skeletal muscle defects, including impaired fiber size, exercise tolerance, grip strength, and response to glucocorticoid-induced atrophy, in conjunction with cardiac dysfunction. These data highlight a circadian regulatory pathway where a GSK-3β-FBXL21 functional axis controls TCAP degradation via SCF complex formation and regulates skeletal muscle function.
Project description:The cryptochrome (CRY) flavoproteins act as blue-light receptors in plants and insects, but perform light-independent functions at the core of the mammalian circadian clock. To drive clock oscillations, mammalian CRYs associate with the Period proteins (PERs) and together inhibit the transcription of their own genes. The SCF(FBXL3) ubiquitin ligase complex controls this negative feedback loop by promoting CRY ubiquitination and degradation. However, the molecular mechanisms of their interactions and the functional role of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD) binding in CRYs remain poorly understood. Here we report crystal structures of mammalian CRY2 in its apo, FAD-bound and FBXL3-SKP1-complexed forms. Distinct from other cryptochromes of known structures, mammalian CRY2 binds FAD dynamically with an open cofactor pocket. Notably, the F-box protein FBXL3 captures CRY2 by simultaneously occupying its FAD-binding pocket with a conserved carboxy-terminal tail and burying its PER-binding interface. This novel F-box-protein-substrate bipartite interaction is susceptible to disruption by both FAD and PERs, suggesting a new avenue for pharmacological targeting of the complex and a multifaceted regulatory mechanism of CRY ubiquitination.
Project description:Cryptochrome (CRY) is the primary circadian photoreceptor in Drosophila. It resets the circadian clock by promoting light-induced degradation of the clock proteins Timeless and Period, as well as its own proteolysis. The E3 ligases that ubiquitylate Timeless and Period before degradation are known and it is known that Drosophila (d) CRY is degraded by the ubiquitin-proteasome system as well. To identify the E3 ligase for dCRY we screened candidates in S2 cells by RNAi. Knockdown of each of the 25 putative F-box proteins identified by bioinformatics did not attenuate the light-induced degradation of dCRY. However, knockdown of a WD40 protein, Bromodomain and WD repeat domain containing 3 (Brwd3) (CG31132/Ramshackle) caused strong attenuation of dCRY degradation following light exposure. We found that BRWD3 functions as a Damage-specific DNA binding protein 1 (DDB1)- and CULLIN (CUL)4-associated factor in a Cullin4-RING Finger E3 Ligase (CRL4) that mediates light-dependent binding of dCRY to CUL4-ROC1-DDB1-BRWD3, inducing ubiquitylation of dCRY and its light-induced degradation. Thus, this study identifies a light-activated E3 ligase complex essential for light-mediated CRY degradation in Drosophila cells.
Project description:Posttranslational regulation of clock proteins is an essential part of mammalian circadian rhythms, conferring sensitivity to metabolic state and offering promising targets for pharmacological control. Two such regulators, casein kinase 1 (CKI) and F-box and leucine-rich repeat protein 3 (FBXL3), modulate the stability of closely linked core clock proteins period (PER) and cryptochrome (CRY), respectively. Inhibition of either CKI or FBXL3 leads to longer periods, and their effects are independent despite targeting proteins with similar roles in clock function. A mechanistic understanding of this independence, however, has remained elusive. Our analysis of cellular circadian clock gene reporters further differentiated between the actions of CKI and FBXL3 by revealing opposite amplitude responses from each manipulation. To understand the functional relationship between the CKI-PER and FBXL3-CRY pathways, we generated robust mechanistic predictions by applying a bootstrap uncertainty analysis to multiple mathematical circadian models. Our results indicate that CKI primarily regulates the accumulating phase of the PER-CRY repressive complex by controlling the nuclear import rate, whereas FBXL3 separately regulates the duration of transcriptional repression in the nucleus. Dynamic simulations confirmed that this spatiotemporal separation is able to reproduce the independence of the two regulators in period regulation, as well as their opposite amplitude effect. As a result, this study provides further insight into the molecular clock machinery responsible for maintaining robust circadian rhythms.
Project description:The mammalian circadian clock is driven by a transcriptional-translational feedback loop, which produces robust 24-hr rhythms. Proper oscillation of the clock depends on the complex formation and periodic turnover of the Period and Cryptochrome proteins, which together inhibit their own transcriptional activator complex, CLOCK-BMAL1. We determined the crystal structure of the CRY-binding domain (CBD) of PER2 in complex with CRY2 at 2.8 Å resolution. PER2-CBD adopts a highly extended conformation, embracing CRY2 with a sinuous binding mode. Its N-terminal end tucks into CRY adjacent to a large pocket critical for CLOCK-BMAL1 binding, while its C-terminal half flanks the CRY2 C-terminal helix and sterically hinders the recognition of CRY2 by the FBXL3 ubiquitin ligase. Unexpectedly, a strictly conserved intermolecular zinc finger, whose integrity is important for clock rhythmicity, further stabilizes the complex. Our structure-guided analyses show that these interspersed CRY-interacting regions represent multiple functional modules of PERs at the CRY-binding interface.