Dynamics at the serine loop underlie differential affinity of cryptochromes for CLOCK:BMAL1 to control circadian timing.
ABSTRACT: Mammalian circadian rhythms are generated by a transcription-based feedback loop in which CLOCK:BMAL1 drives transcription of its repressors (PER1/2, CRY1/2), which ultimately interact with CLOCK:BMAL1 to close the feedback loop with ~24 hr periodicity. Here we pinpoint a key difference between CRY1 and CRY2 that underlies their differential strengths as transcriptional repressors. Both cryptochromes bind the BMAL1 transactivation domain similarly to sequester it from coactivators and repress CLOCK:BMAL1 activity. However, we find that CRY1 is recruited with much higher affinity to the PAS domain core of CLOCK:BMAL1, allowing it to serve as a stronger repressor that lengthens circadian period. We discovered a dynamic serine-rich loop adjacent to the secondary pocket in the photolyase homology region (PHR) domain that regulates differential binding of cryptochromes to the PAS domain core of CLOCK:BMAL1. Notably, binding of the co-repressor PER2 remodels the serine loop of CRY2, making it more CRY1-like and enhancing its affinity for CLOCK:BMAL1.
Project description:The basic helix-loop-helix PAS domain (bHLH-PAS) transcription factor CLOCK:BMAL1 (brain and muscle Arnt-like protein 1) sits at the core of the mammalian circadian transcription/translation feedback loop. Precise control of CLOCK:BMAL1 activity by coactivators and repressors establishes the ?24-h periodicity of gene expression. Formation of a repressive complex, defined by the core clock proteins cryptochrome 1 (CRY1):CLOCK:BMAL1, plays an important role controlling the switch from repression to activation each day. Here we show that CRY1 binds directly to the PAS domain core of CLOCK:BMAL1, driven primarily by interaction with the CLOCK PAS-B domain. Integrative modeling and solution X-ray scattering studies unambiguously position a key loop of the CLOCK PAS-B domain in the secondary pocket of CRY1, analogous to the antenna chromophore-binding pocket of photolyase. CRY1 docks onto the transcription factor alongside the PAS domains, extending above the DNA-binding bHLH domain. Single point mutations at the interface on either CRY1 or CLOCK disrupt formation of the ternary complex, highlighting the importance of this interface for direct regulation of CLOCK:BMAL1 activity by CRY1.
Project description:CLOCK and BMAL1 [brain and muscle ARNT (arylhydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator)-like protein 1] are central components of the molecular clock in mammals and belong to the bHLH (basic helix-loop-helix)/PAS [PER (Period)/ARNT/SIM (single-minded)] family. Features of their dimerization have never been investigated. Here, we demonstrate that PAS domain function requires regions extending over the short PAS core repeats. Strikingly, while deleting PAS core repeats does not overtly affect dimerization, it abolishes the transcriptional activity of the heterodimer. Interestingly, these deletions also abolish co-dependent phosphorylation of CLOCK and BMAL1, suggesting a link between the phosphorylation status of the heterodimer and its transactivation potential. We demonstrate that NPAS2 (neuronal PAS domain protein 2) and BMAL2 also undergo similar posttranslational modifications, thereby establishing the mechanism proposed for CLOCK-BMAL1 as a common feature of transcriptional activators in the circadian clock. The discovery of two novel splice variants of BMAL2 confirms the crucial role of the PAS domain and further strengthens the view that co-dependent phosphorylation is of functional significance. In agreement with this, we demonstrate that CRY1-2 (cryptochromes 1-2) affect transactivation and phosphorylation of transcriptional activators of the clock. Furthermore, CRY proteins stabilize the unphosphorylated forms of BMAL1(BMAL2) thereby shifting the phosphorylated/unphosphorylated ratio towards a predominantly unphosphorylated (transcriptionally inactive) form. In contrast, PER proteins, which are weak repressors, are without effect. From these results, we propose a general mechanism for the inhibition of CLOCK(NPAS2)-BMAL1(BMAL2) circadian transcriptional activation by CRY1-2.
Project description:An interlocked transcriptional-translational feedback loop (TTFL) is thought to generate the mammalian circadian clockwork in both the central pacemaker residing in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei and in peripheral tissues. The core circadian genes, including Period1 and Period2 (Per1 and Per2), Cryptochrome1 and Cryptochrome2 (Cry1 and Cry2), Bmal1, and Clock are indispensable components of this biological clockwork. The cycling of the PER and CRY clock proteins has been thought to be necessary to keep the mammalian clock ticking.We provide a novel cell-permeant protein approach for manipulating cryptochrome protein levels to evaluate the current transcription and translation feedback model of the circadian clockwork. Cell-permeant cryptochrome proteins appear to be functional on the basis of several criteria, including the abilities to (1) rescue circadian properties in Cry1(-/-)Cry2(-/-) mouse fibroblasts, (2) act as transcriptional repressors, and (3) phase shift the circadian oscillator in Rat-1 fibroblasts. By using cell-permeant cryptochrome proteins, we demonstrate that cycling of CRY1, CRY2, and BMAL1 is not necessary for circadian-clock function in fibroblasts.These results are not supportive of the current version of the transcription and translation feedback-loop model of the mammalian clock mechanism, in which cycling of the essential clock proteins CRY1 and CRY2 is thought to be necessary.
Project description:Mammalian circadian clocks are driven by a transcription/translation feedback loop composed of positive regulators (CLOCK/BMAL1) and repressors (CRYPTOCHROME 1/2 (CRY1/2) and PER1/2). To understand the structural principles of regulation, we used evolutionary sequence analysis to identify co-evolving residues within the CRY/PHL protein family. Here we report the identification of an ancestral secondary cofactor-binding pocket as an interface in repressive CRYs, mediating regulation through direct interaction with CLOCK and BMAL1. Mutations weakening binding between CLOCK/BMAL1 and CRY1 lead to acceleration of the clock, suggesting that subtle sequence divergences at this site can modulate clock function. Divergence between CRY1 and CRY2 at this site results in distinct periodic output. Weaker interactions between CRY2 and CLOCK/BMAL1 at this pocket are strengthened by co-expression of PER2, suggesting that PER expression limits the length of the repressive phase in CRY2-driven rhythms. Overall, this work provides a model for the mechanism and evolutionary variation of clock regulatory mechanisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Circadian oscillation of clock-controlled gene expression is mainly regulated at the transcriptional level. Heterodimers of CLOCK and BMAL1 act as activators of target gene transcription; however, interactions of PER and CRY proteins with the heterodimer abolish its transcriptional activation capacity. PER and CRY are therefore referred to as negative regulators of the circadian clock. To further elucidate the mechanism how positive and negative components of the clock interplay, we characterized the interactions of PER2, CRY1 and CRY2 with BMAL1 and CLOCK using a mammalian two-hybrid system and co-immunoprecipitation assays. RESULTS: Both PER2 and the CRY proteins were found to interact with BMAL1 whereas only PER2 interacts with CLOCK. CRY proteins seem to have a higher affinity to BMAL1 than PER2. Moreover, we provide evidence that PER2, CRY1 and CRY2 bind to different domains in the BMAL1 protein. CONCLUSION: The regulators of clock-controlled transcription PER2, CRY1 and CRY2 differ in their capacity to interact with each single component of the BMAL1-CLOCK heterodimer and, in the case of BMAL1, also in their interaction sites. Our data supports the hypothesis that CRY proteins, especially CRY1, are stronger repressors than PER proteins.
Project description:Cellular metabolite balance and mitochondrial function are under circadian control, but the pathways connecting the molecular clock to these functions are unclear. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPAR?) enables preferential utilization of lipids as fuel during exercise and is a major driver of exercise endurance. We show here that the circadian repressors CRY1 and CRY2 function as co-repressors for PPAR?. Cry1-/-;Cry2-/- myotubes and muscles exhibit elevated expression of PPAR? target genes, particularly in the context of exercise. Notably, CRY1/2 seem to repress a distinct subset of PPAR? target genes in muscle compared to the co-repressor NCOR1. In vivo, genetic disruption of Cry1 and Cry2 enhances sprint exercise performance in mice. Collectively, our data demonstrate that CRY1 and CRY2 modulate exercise physiology by altering the activity of several transcription factors, including CLOCK/BMAL1 and PPAR?, and thereby alter energy storage and substrate selection for energy production.
Project description:A single injection of LPS produced low-grade neuroinflammation leading to Parkinson's disease (PD) in mice several months later. Whether such a phenomenon occurs in rats and whether such low-grade neuroinflammation would aggravate rotenone (ROT) neurotoxicity and disrupts circadian clock gene/protein expressions were examined in this study. Male rats were given two injections of LPS (2.5-7.5 mg/kg), and neuroinflammation and dopamine neuron loss were evident 3 months later. Seven months after a single LPS (5 mg/kg) injection, rats received low doses of ROT (0.5 mg/kg, sc, 5 times/week for 4 weeks) to examine low-grade neuroinflammation on ROT toxicity. LPS plus ROT produced more pronounced non-motor and motor dysfunctions than LPS or ROT alone in behavioral tests, and decreased mitochondrial complex 1 activity, together with aggravated neuroinflammation and neuron loss. The expressions of clock core genes brain and muscle Arnt-like protein-1 (Bmal1), locomotor output cycles kaput (Clock), and neuronal PAS domain protein-2 (Npas2) were decreased in LPS, ROT, and LPS plus ROT groups. The expressions of circadian feedback genes Periods (Per1 and Per2) were also decreased, but Cryptochromes (Cry1 and Cry2) were unaltered. The circadian clock target genes nuclear receptor Rev-Erb? (Nr1d1), and D-box-binding protein (Dbp) expressions were also decreased. Consistent with the transcript levels, circadian clock protein BMAL1, CLOCK, NR1D1, and DBP were also decreased. Thus, LPS-induced chronic low-grade neuroinflammation potentiated ROT neurotoxicity and disrupted circadian clock gene/protein expression, suggesting a role of disrupted circadian in PD development and progression. Graphical Abstract ?.
Project description:Cryptochromes (CRYs) are composed of a core domain with structural similarity to photolyase and a distinguishing C-terminal extension. While plant and fly CRYs act as circadian photoreceptors, using the C terminus for light signaling, mammalian CRY1 and CRY2 are integral components of the circadian oscillator. However, the function of their C terminus remains to be resolved. Here, we show that the C-terminal extension of mCRY1 harbors a nuclear localization signal and a putative coiled-coil domain that drive nuclear localization via two independent mechanisms and shift the equilibrium of shuttling mammalian CRY1 (mCRY1)/mammalian PER2 (mPER2) complexes towards the nucleus. Importantly, deletion of the complete C terminus prevents mCRY1 from repressing CLOCK/BMAL1-mediated transcription, whereas a plant photolyase gains this key clock function upon fusion to the last 100 amino acids of the mCRY1 core and its C terminus. Thus, the acquirement of different (species-specific) C termini during evolution not only functionally separated cryptochromes from photolyase but also caused diversity within the cryptochrome family.
Project description:Circadian clocks in mammals are based on a negative feedback loop in which transcriptional repression by the cryptochromes, CRY1 and CRY2, lies at the heart of the mechanism. Despite similarities in sequence, domain structure, and biochemical activity, they play distinct roles in clock function. However, detailed biochemical studies have not been straightforward and Cry function has not been examined in real clock cells using kinetic measurements. In this study, we demonstrate, through cell-based genetic complementation and real-time molecular recording, that Cry1 alone is able to maintain cell-autonomous circadian rhythms, whereas Cry2 cannot. Using this novel functional assay, we identify a cryptochrome differentiating ?-helical domain within the photolyase homology region (PHR) of CRY1, designated as CRY1-PHR(313-426), that is required for clock function and distinguishes CRY1 from CRY2. Contrary to speculation, the divergent carboxyl-terminal tail domain (CTD) is dispensable, but serves to modulate rhythm amplitude and period length. Finally, we identify the biochemical basis of their distinct function; CRY1 is a much more potent transcriptional repressor than CRY2, and the strength of repression by various forms of CRY proteins significantly correlates with rhythm amplitude. Taken together, our results demonstrate that CRY1-PHR(313-426), not the divergent CTD, is critical for clock function. These findings provide novel insights into the evolution of the diverse functions of the photolyase/cryptochrome family of flavoproteins and offer new opportunities for mechanistic studies of CRY function.
Project description:Nuclear hormone receptors (NRs) regulate physiology by sensing lipophilic ligands and adapting cellular transcription appropriately. A growing understanding of the impact of circadian clocks on mammalian transcription has sparked interest in the interregulation of transcriptional programs. Mammalian clocks are based on a transcriptional feedback loop featuring the transcriptional activators circadian locomotor output cycles kaput (CLOCK) and brain and muscle ARNT-like 1 (BMAL1), and transcriptional repressors cryptochrome (CRY) and period (PER). CRY1 and CRY2 bind independently of other core clock factors to many genomic sites, which are enriched for NR recognition motifs. Here we report that CRY1/2 serve as corepressors for many NRs, indicating a new facet of circadian control of NR-mediated regulation of metabolism and physiology, and specifically contribute to diurnal modulation of drug metabolism.