ABSTRACT: The present study addresses the role of the circadian system in day-night changes of respiratory functions in the mouse. In all airway tissues investigated (i.e., larynx, trachea, bronchus, and lung), we observed clear rhythmic expression of the Per1, Per2, Bmal1, and Clock core oscillator genes (the latter two genes oscillating in antiphase with the Per genes), as well as the clock-regulated Dbp gene. Oscillations were abolished in arrhythmic Cry1-/- Cry2-/- knock-out mice and after lesioning of the master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in wild-type animals. These findings indicate that respiratory system cells contain a functional peripheral oscillator that is controlled by the SCN. Furthermore, we found that the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor genes Chm2, Chm3, and Chm4 are expressed in a circadian manner, and that mucin secretion (rather than synthesis) by the airway submucosal glands is under circadian control. Signals from the SCN are mainly transmitted by the vagal nerve because unilateral vagotomy completely abolished rhythms in mucin and PER2 protein levels in the (operated) ipsilateral side of the submucosal glands, but not in the (intact) contralateral side. Thus, peripheral clock mediated circadian expression of muscarinic acetylcholine receptor proteins, and parasympathetic signaling between SCN and respiratory tissues are essential gears in conferring circadian "time" information to airway glands.
Project description:Molecular mechanisms of the mammalian circadian clock have been studied primarily by genetic perturbation and behavioral analysis. Here, we used bioluminescence imaging to monitor Per2 gene expression in tissues and cells from clock mutant mice. We discovered that Per1 and Cry1 are required for sustained rhythms in peripheral tissues and cells, and in neurons dissociated from the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). Per2 is also required for sustained rhythms, whereas Cry2 and Per3 deficiencies cause only period length defects. However, oscillator network interactions in the SCN can compensate for Per1 or Cry1 deficiency, preserving sustained rhythmicity in mutant SCN slices and behavior. Thus, behavior does not necessarily reflect cell-autonomous clock phenotypes. Our studies reveal previously unappreciated requirements for Per1, Per2, and Cry1 in sustaining cellular circadian rhythmicity and demonstrate that SCN intercellular coupling is essential not only to synchronize component cellular oscillators but also for robustness against genetic perturbations.
Project description:The immune and the circadian systems interact in a bidirectional fashion. The master circadian oscillator, located in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus, responds to peripheral and local immune stimuli, such as proinflammatory cytokines and bacterial endotoxin. Astrocytes exert several immune functions in the CNS, and there is growing evidence that points toward a role of these cells in the regulation of circadian rhythms. The aim of this work was to assess the response of SCN astrocytes to immune stimuli, particularly to the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-?. TNF-? applied to cultures of SCN astrocytes from Per2(luc) knockin mice altered both the phase and amplitude of PER2 expression rhythms, in a phase-dependent manner. Furthermore, conditioned media from SCN astrocyte cultures transiently challenged with TNF-? induced an increase in Per1 expression in NIH 3T3 cells, which was blocked by TNF-? antagonism. In addition, these conditioned media could induce phase shifts in SCN PER2 rhythms and, when administered intracerebroventricularly, induced phase delays in behavioral circadian rhythms and SCN activation in control mice, but not in TNFR-1 mutants. In summary, our results show that TNF-? modulates the molecular clock of SCN astrocytes in vitro, and also that, in response to this molecule, SCN astrocytes can modulate clock gene expression in other cells and tissues, and induce phase shifts in a circadian behavioral output in vivo. These findings suggest a role for astroglial cells in the alteration of circadian timing by immune activation.
Project description:The methamphetamine-sensitive circadian oscillator (MASCO) is an enigmatic circadian clock whose output is observed during continuous consumption of low-dose methamphetamine. The MASCO rhythm persists when the light-entrainable pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is lesioned, but the anatomical location of MASCO is unknown. We recently found that the period of the MASCO rhythm is unusually short (21 h) in mice with disruption of all three paralogs of the canonical clock gene, Period. In this study, we investigated the contribution of each Period paralog to timekeeping in MASCO. We measured wheel-running activity rhythms in intact and SCN-lesioned Per1-, 2- and 3-mutant mice administered methamphetamine, and found that none of the mice displayed a short (21-h) period, demonstrating that no single Period gene is responsible for the short-period MASCO rhythm of Per1(-/-) /Per2(-/-) /Per3(-/-) mice. We also found that the periods of activity rhythms in constant darkness were lengthened by methamphetamine treatment in intact wild-type, Per1(-/-) and Per3(-/-) mice but not Per2(-/-) mice, and Per2(-/-) mice had two distinct activity rhythms upon release to constant light. These data suggest that the SCN and MASCO are not coupled in Per2(-/-) mice. The MASCO rhythm in Per1(-/-) /Per2(-/-) mice in constant darkness alternated between a short (22-h) and a long (27-h) period. This pattern could result from two coupled oscillators that are not synchronised to each other, or from a single oscillator displaying birhythmicity. Finally, we propose a working model of the in vivo relationship between MASCO and the SCN that poses testable hypotheses for future studies.
Project description:Circadian rhythms of mammalian physiology and behavior are coordinated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus. Within SCN neurons, various aspects of cell physiology exhibit circadian oscillations, including circadian clock gene expression, levels of intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i), and neuronal firing rate. [Ca2+]i oscillates in SCN neurons even in the absence of neuronal firing. To determine the causal relationship between circadian clock gene expression and [Ca2+]i rhythms in the SCN, as well as the SCN neuronal network dependence of [Ca2+]i rhythms, we introduced GCaMP3, a genetically encoded fluorescent Ca2+ indicator, into SCN neurons from PER2::LUC knock-in reporter mice. Then, PER2 and [Ca2+]i were imaged in SCN dispersed and organotypic slice cultures. In dispersed cells, PER2 and [Ca2+]i both exhibited cell autonomous circadian rhythms, but [Ca2+]i rhythms were typically weaker than PER2 rhythms. This result matches the predictions of a detailed mathematical model in which clock gene rhythms drive [Ca2+]i rhythms. As predicted by the model, PER2 and [Ca2+]i rhythms were both stronger in SCN slices than in dispersed cells and were weakened by blocking neuronal firing in slices but not in dispersed cells. The phase relationship between [Ca2+]i and PER2 rhythms was more variable in cells within slices than in dispersed cells. Both PER2 and [Ca2+]i rhythms were abolished in SCN cells deficient in the essential clock gene Bmal1. These results suggest that the circadian rhythm of [Ca2+]i in SCN neurons is cell autonomous and dependent on clock gene rhythms, but reinforced and modulated by a synchronized SCN neuronal network.
Project description:Many biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes display daily rhythms generated by an internal timekeeping mechanism referred to as the circadian clock. The core oscillator driving this clock is located in the ventral part of the hypothalamus, the so called suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). At the molecular level, this oscillator is thought to be composed of interlocking autoregulatory feedback loops involving a set of clock genes. Among the components driving the mammalian circadian clock are the Period 1 and 2 (mPer1 and mPer2) and Cryptochrome 1 and 2 (mCry1 and mCry2) genes. A mutation in the mPer2 gene leads to a gradual loss of circadian rhythmicity in mice kept in constant darkness (DD). Here we show that inactivation of the mCry2 gene in mPer2 mutant mice restores circadian rhythmicity and normal clock gene expression patterns. Thus, mCry2 can act as a nonallelic suppressor of mPer2, which points to direct or indirect interactions of PER2 and CRY2 proteins. In marked contrast, inactivation of mCry1 in mPer2 mutant mice does not restore circadian rhythmicity but instead results in complete behavioral arrhythmicity in DD, indicating different effects of mCry1 and mCry2 in the clock mechanism
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>In mammals, the synchronized activity of cell autonomous clocks in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) enables this structure to function as the master circadian clock, coordinating daily rhythms in physiology and behavior. However, the dominance of this clock has been challenged by the observations that metabolic duress can over-ride SCN controlled rhythms, and that clock genes are expressed in many brain areas, including those implicated in the regulation of appetite and feeding. The recent development of mice in which clock gene/protein activity is reported by bioluminescent constructs (luciferase or luc) now enables us to track molecular oscillations in numerous tissues ex vivo. Consequently we determined both clock activities and responsiveness to metabolic perturbations of cells and tissues within the mediobasal hypothalamus (MBH), a site pivotal for optimal internal homeostatic regulation.<h4>Results</h4>Here we demonstrate endogenous circadian rhythms of PER2::LUC expression in discrete subdivisions of the arcuate (Arc) and dorsomedial nuclei (DMH). Rhythms resolved to single cells did not maintain long-term synchrony with one-another, leading to a damping of oscillations at both cell and tissue levels. Complementary electrophysiology recordings revealed rhythms in neuronal activity in the Arc and DMH. Further, PER2::LUC rhythms were detected in the ependymal layer of the third ventricle and in the median eminence/pars tuberalis (ME/PT). A high-fat diet had no effect on the molecular oscillations in the MBH, whereas food deprivation resulted in an altered phase in the ME/PT.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Our results provide the first single cell resolution of endogenous circadian rhythms in clock gene expression in any intact tissue outside the SCN, reveal the cellular basis for tissue level damping in extra-SCN oscillators and demonstrate that an oscillator in the ME/PT is responsive to changes in metabolism.
Project description:The retina is both a sensory organ and a self-sustained circadian clock. Gene targeting studies have revealed that mammalian circadian clocks generate molecular circadian rhythms through coupled transcription/translation feedback loops which involve 6 core clock genes, namely Period (Per) 1 and 2, Cryptochrome (Cry) 1 and 2, Clock, and Bmal1 and that the roles of individual clock genes in rhythms generation are tissue-specific. However, the mechanisms of molecular circadian rhythms in the mammalian retina are incompletely understood and the extent to which retinal neural clocks share mechanisms with the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the central neural clock, is unclear. In the present study, we examined the rhythmic amplitude and period of real-time bioluminescence rhythms in explants of retina from Per1-, Per2-, Per3-, Cry1-, Cry2-, and Clock-deficient mice that carried transgenic PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE (PER2::LUC) or Period1::luciferase (Per1::luc) circadian reporters. Per1-, Cry1- and Clock-deficient retinal and SCN explants showed weakened or disrupted rhythms, with stronger effects in retina compared to SCN. Per2, Per3, and Cry2 were individually dispensable for sustained rhythms in both tissues. Retinal and SCN explants from double knockouts of Cry1 and Cry2 were arrhythmic. Gene effects on period were divergent with reduction in the number of Per1 alleles shortening circadian period in retina, but lengthening it in SCN, and knockout of Per3 substantially shortening retinal clock period, but leaving SCN unaffected. Thus, the retinal neural clock has a unique pattern of clock gene dependence at the tissue level that it is similar in pattern, but more severe in degree, than the SCN neural clock, with divergent clock gene regulation of rhythmic period.
Project description:Studies have suggested that the clock regulator PER2 is a tumour suppressor. A cancer network involving PER2 raises the possibility that some tumour suppressors are directly involved in the mammalian clock. Here, we show that the tumour suppressor promyelocytic leukaemia (PML) protein is a circadian clock regulator and can physically interact with PER2. In the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), PML expression and PML-PER2 interaction are under clock control. Loss of PML disrupts and dampens the expression of clock regulators Per2, Per1, Cry1, Bmal1 and Npas2. In the presence of PML and PER2, BMAL1/CLOCK-mediated transcription is enhanced. In Pml(-/-) SCN and mouse embryo fibroblast cells, the cellular distribution of PER2 is primarily perinuclear/cytoplasmic. PML is acetylated at K487 and its deacetylation by SIRT1 promotes PML control of PER2 nuclear localization. The circadian period of Pml(-/-) mice displays reduced precision and stability consistent with PML having a role in the mammalian clock mechanism.
Project description:The circadian regulatory network is organized in a hierarchical fashion, with a central oscillator in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) orchestrating circadian oscillations in peripheral tissues. The nature of the relationship between central and peripheral oscillators, however, is poorly understood. We used the tetOFF expression system to specifically restore Clock function in the brains of Clock(?19) mice, which have compromised circadian clocks. Rescued mice showed normal locomotor rhythms in constant darkness, with activity period lengths approximating wildtype controls. We used microarray analysis to assess whether brain-specific rescue of circadian rhythmicity was sufficient to restore circadian transcriptional output in the liver. Compared to Clock mutants, Clock-rescue mice showed significantly larger numbers of cycling transcripts with appropriate phase and period lengths, including many components of the core circadian oscillator. This indicates that the SCN oscillator overcomes local circadian defects and signals directly to the molecular clock. Interestingly, the vast majority of core clock genes in liver were responsive to Clock expression in the SCN, suggesting that core clock genes in peripheral tissues are intrinsically sensitive to SCN cues. Nevertheless, most circadian output in the liver was absent or severely low-amplitude in Clock-rescue animals, demonstrating that the majority of peripheral transcriptional rhythms depend on a fully functional local circadian oscillator. We identified several new system-driven rhythmic genes in the liver, including Alas1 and Mfsd2. Finally, we show that 12-hour transcriptional rhythms (i.e., circadian "harmonics") are disrupted by Clock loss-of-function. Brain-specific rescue of Clock converted 12-hour rhythms into 24-hour rhythms, suggesting that signaling via the central circadian oscillator is required to generate one of the two daily peaks of expression. Based on these data, we conclude that 12-hour rhythms are driven by interactions between central and peripheral circadian oscillators.
Project description:The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) defines 24 h of time via a transcriptional/posttranslational feedback loop in which transactivation of Per (period) and Cry (cryptochrome) genes by BMAL1-CLOCK complexes is suppressed by PER-CRY complexes. The molecular/structural basis of how circadian protein complexes function is poorly understood. We describe a novel N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU)-induced mutation, early doors (Edo), in the PER-ARNT-SIM (PAS) domain dimerization region of period 2 (PER2) (I324N) that accelerates the circadian clock of Per2(Edo/Edo) mice by 1.5 h. Structural and biophysical analyses revealed that Edo alters the packing of the highly conserved interdomain linker of the PER2 PAS core such that, although PER2(Edo) complexes with clock proteins, its vulnerability to degradation mediated by casein kinase 1? (CSNK1E) is increased. The functional relevance of this mutation is revealed by the ultrashort (<19 h) but robust circadian rhythms in Per2(Edo/Edo); Csnk1e(Tau/Tau) mice and the SCN. These periods are unprecedented in mice. Thus, Per2(Edo) reveals a direct causal link between the molecular structure of the PER2 PAS core and the pace of SCN circadian timekeeping.