Delayed Cryptochrome Degradation Asymmetrically Alters the Daily Rhythm in Suprachiasmatic Clock Neuron Excitability.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:<h4>Background</h4>DNA methylation has emerged as an important epigenetic regulator of brain processes, including circadian rhythms. However, how DNA methylation intervenes between environmental signals, such as light entrainment, and the transcriptional and translational molecular mechanisms of the cellular clock is currently unknown. Here, we studied the after-hours mice, which have a point mutation in the Fbxl3 gene and a lengthened circadian period.<h4>Methods</h4>In this study, we used a combination of in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro approaches. We measured retinal responses in Afh animals and we have run reduced representation bisulphite sequencing (RRBS), pyrosequencing and gene expression analysis in a variety of brain tissues ex vivo. In vitro, we used primary neuronal cultures combined to micro electrode array (MEA) technology and gene expression.<h4>Results</h4>We observed functional impairments in mutant neuronal networks, and a reduction in the retinal responses to light-dependent stimuli. We detected abnormalities in the expression of photoreceptive melanopsin (OPN4). Furthermore, we identified alterations in the DNA methylation pathways throughout the retinohypothalamic tract terminals and links between the transcription factor Rev-Erb? and Fbxl3.<h4>Conclusions</h4>The results of this study, primarily represent a contribution towards an understanding of electrophysiological and molecular phenotypic responses to external stimuli in the Afh model. Moreover, as DNA methylation has recently emerged as a new regulator of neuronal networks with important consequences for circadian behaviour, we discuss the impact of the Afh mutation on the epigenetic landscape of circadian biology.
Project description:The circadian clock helps living organisms to adjust their physiology and behaviour to adapt environmental day-night cycles. The period length of circadian rhythm reflects the endogenous cycle transition rate and is modulated by environmental cues or internal molecules, and the latter are of substantial importance but remain poorly revealed. Here, we demonstrated that microRNA 17-5p (miR-17-5p), which has been associated with tumours, was an important factor in controlling the circadian period. MiR-17-5p was rhythmically expressed in synchronised fibroblasts and mouse master clock suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). MiR-17-5p and the gene Clock exhibited a reciprocal regulation: miR-17-5p inhibited the translation of Clock by targeting the 3'UTR (untranslated region) of Clock mRNA, whereas the CLOCK protein directly bound to the promoter of miR-17 and enhanced its transcription and production of miR-17-5p. In addition, miR-17-5p suppressed the expression of Npas2. At the cellular level, bidirectional changes in miR-17-5p or CLOCK resulted in CRY1 elevation. Accordingly, in vivo, both increase and decrease of miR-17-5p in the mouse SCN led to an increase in CRY1 level and shortening of the free-running period. We conclude that miR-17-5p has an important role in the inspection and stabilisation of the circadian-clock period by interacting with Clock and Npas2 and potentially via the output of CRY1.
Project description:Background Daily variations in mammalian physiology are under control of a central clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). SCN timing signals are essential for coordinating cellular clocks and associated circadian variations in cell and tissue function across the body; however, direct SCN projections primarily target a restricted set of hypothalamic and thalamic nuclei involved in physiological and behavioural control. The role of the SCN in driving rhythmic activity in these targets remains largely unclear. Here, we address this issue via multielectrode recording and manipulations of SCN output in adult mouse brain slices. Results Electrical stimulation identifies cells across the midline hypothalamus and ventral thalamus that receive inhibitory input from the SCN and/or excitatory input from the retina. Optogenetic manipulations confirm that SCN outputs arise from both VIP and, more frequently, non-VIP expressing cells and that both SCN and retinal projections almost exclusively target GABAergic downstream neurons. The majority of midline hypothalamic and ventral thalamic neurons exhibit circadian variation in firing and those receiving inhibitory SCN projections consistently exhibit peak activity during epochs when SCN output is low. Physical removal of the SCN confirms that neuronal rhythms in ~?20% of the recorded neurons rely on central clock input but also reveals many neurons that can express circadian variation in firing independent of any SCN input. Conclusions We identify cell populations across the midline hypothalamus and ventral thalamus exhibiting SCN-dependent and independent rhythms in neural activity, providing new insight into the mechanisms by which the circadian system generates daily physiological rhythms.
Project description:Circadian rhythms in mammals are coordinated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). SCN neurons define circadian time using transcriptional/posttranslational feedback loops (TTFL) in which expression of Cryptochrome (Cry) and Period (Per) genes is inhibited by their protein products. Loss of Cry1 and Cry2 stops the SCN clock, whereas individual deletions accelerate and decelerate it, respectively. At the circuit level, neuronal interactions synchronize cellular TTFLs, creating a spatiotemporal wave of gene expression across the SCN that is lost in Cry1/2-deficient SCN. To interrogate the properties of CRY proteins required for circadian function, we expressed CRY in SCN of Cry-deficient mice using adeno-associated virus (AAV). Expression of CRY1::EGFP or CRY2::EGFP under a minimal Cry1 promoter was circadian and rapidly induced PER2-dependent bioluminescence rhythms in previously arrhythmic Cry1/2-deficient SCN, with periods appropriate to each isoform. CRY1::EGFP appropriately lengthened the behavioral period in Cry1-deficient mice. Thus, determination of specific circadian periods reflects properties of the respective proteins, independently of their phase of expression. Phase of CRY1::EGFP expression was critical, however, because constitutive or phase-delayed promoters failed to sustain coherent rhythms. At the circuit level, CRY1::EGFP induced the spatiotemporal wave of PER2 expression in Cry1/2-deficient SCN. This was dependent on the neuropeptide arginine vasopressin (AVP) because it was prevented by pharmacological blockade of AVP receptors. Thus, our genetic complementation assay reveals acute, protein-specific induction of cell-autonomous and network-level circadian rhythmicity in SCN never previously exposed to CRY. Specifically, Cry expression must be circadian and appropriately phased to support rhythms, and AVP receptor signaling is required to impose circuit-level circadian function.
Project description:In mammals, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is the central pacemaker organizing circadian rhythms of behavior and physiology. At the cellular level, the mammalian clock consists of autoregulatory feedback loops involving a set of "clock genes," including the Cryptochrome (Cry) genes, Cry1 and Cry2. Experimental evidence suggests that Cry1 and Cry2 play distinct roles in circadian clock function. In mice, Cry1 is required for sustained circadian rhythms in dissociated SCN neurons or fibroblasts but not in organotypic SCN slices or at the behavioral level, whereas Cry2 is not required at any of these levels. It has been argued that coupling among SCN cellular oscillators compensates for clock gene defects to preserve oscillatory function. Here we test this hypothesis in Cry1(-/-) mice by first disrupting intercellular coupling in vivo using constant light (resulting in behavioral arrhythmicity) and then examining circadian clock gene expression in SCN slices at the single cell level. In this manner, we were able to test the role of intercellular coupling without drugs and while preserving tissue organization, avoiding the confounding influences of more invasive manipulations. Cry1(-/-) mice (as well as control Cry2(-/-) mice) bearing the PER2::LUC knock-in reporter were transferred from a standard light:dark cycle to constant bright light (~650 lux) to induce arrhythmic locomotor patterns. In SCN slices from these animals, we used bioluminescence imaging to monitor PER2::LUC expression in single cells. We show that SCN slices from rhythmic Cry1(-/-) and Cry2(-/-) mice had similarly high percentages of functional single-cell oscillators. In contrast, SCN slices from arrhythmic Cry1(-/-) mice had significantly fewer rhythmic cells than SCN slices from arrhythmic Cry2(-/-) mice. Thus, constant light in vivo disrupted intercellular SCN coupling to reveal a cell-autonomous circadian defect in Cry1(-/-) cells that is normally compensated by intercellular coupling in vivo.
Project description:The circadian oscillator is a molecular feedback circuit whose orchestration involves posttranslational control of the activity and protein levels of its components. Although controlled proteolysis of circadian proteins is critical for oscillator function, our understanding of the underlying mechanisms remains incomplete. Here, we report that JmjC domain-containing protein 5 (JMJD5) interacts with CRYPTOCHROME 1 (CRY1) in an F-box/leucine-rich repeat protein 3 (FBXL3)-dependent manner and facilitates targeting of CRY1 to the proteasome. Genetic deletion of JMJD5 results in greater CRY1 stability, reduced CRY1 association with the proteasome, and disruption of circadian gene expression. We also report that in the absence of JMJD5, AMP-regulated protein kinase (AMPK)-induced CRY1 degradation is impaired, establishing JMJD5 as a key player in this mechanism. JMJD5 cooperates with CRY1 to repress circadian locomotor output cycles protein kaput (CLOCK)-brain and muscle ARNT-like protein 1 (BMAL1), thus linking CRY1 destabilization to repressive function. Finally, we find that ablation of JMJD5 impacts FBXL3- and CRY1-related functions beyond the oscillator.
Project description:Clock genes Cry1 and Cry2, inhibitory components of core molecular feedback loop, are regarded as critical molecules for the circadian rhythm generation in mammals. A double knockout of Cry1 and Cry2 abolishes the circadian behavioral rhythm in adult mice under constant darkness. However, robust circadian rhythms in PER2::LUC expression are detected in the cultured suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of Cry1/Cry2 deficient neonatal mice and restored in adult SCN by co-culture with wild-type neonatal SCN. These findings led us to postulate the compensatory molecule(s) for Cry1/Cry2 deficiency in circadian rhythm generation. We examined the roles of Chrono and Dec1/Dec2 proteins, the suppressors of Per(s) transcription similar to CRY(s). Unexpectedly, knockout of Chrono or Dec1/Dec2 in the Cry1/Cry2 deficient mice did not abolish but decoupled the coherent circadian rhythm into three different periodicities or significantly shortened the circadian period in neonatal SCN. DNA microarray analysis for the SCN of Cry1/Cry2 deficient mice revealed substantial increases in Per(s), Chrono and Dec(s) expression, indicating disinhibition of the transactivation by BMAL1/CLOCK. Here, we conclude that Chrono and Dec1/Dec2 do not compensate for absence of CRY1/CRY2 in the circadian rhythm generation but contribute to the coherent circadian rhythm expression in the neonatal mouse SCN most likely through integration of cellular circadian rhythms.
Project description:Although, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus acts as the central clock in mammals, the circadian expression of clock genes has been demonstrated not only in the SCN, but also in peripheral tissues and brain regions outside the SCN. However, the physiological roles of extra-SCN circadian clocks in the brain remain largely elusive. In response, we generated <i>Nkx2.1-Bmal1</i><sup>-/-</sup> mice in which <i>Bmal1</i>, an essential clock component, was genetically deleted specifically in the ventral forebrain, including the preoptic area, nucleus of the diagonal band, and most of the hypothalamus except the SCN. In these mice, as expected, PER2::LUC oscillation was drastically attenuated in the explants of mediobasal hypothalamus, whereas it was maintained in those of the SCN. Although, <i>Nkx2.1-Bmal1</i><sup>-/-</sup> mice were rhythmic and nocturnal, they showed altered patterns of locomotor activity during the night in a 12:12-h light:dark cycle and during subjective night in constant darkness. Control mice were more active during the first half than the second half of the dark phase or subjective night, whereas <i>Nkx2.1-Bmal1</i><sup>-/-</sup> mice showed the opposite pattern of locomotor activity. Temporal patterns of sleep-wakefulness and feeding also changed accordingly. Such results suggest that along with mechanisms in the SCN, local <i>Bmal1</i>-dependent clocks in the ventral forebrain are critical for generating precise temporal patterns of circadian behaviors.