Most physiological and biological processes are regulated by endogenous circadian rhythms under the control of both a master clock, which acts systemically and individual cellular clocks, which act at the single cell level. The cellular clock is based on a network of core clock genes, which drive the circadian expression of non-clock genes involved in many cellular processes. Circadian deregulation of gene expression has emerged to be as important as deregulation of estrogen signaling in breast tumorigenesis. Whether there is a mutual deregulation of circadian and hormone signaling is the question that we address in this study. Here we show that, upon entrainment by serum shock, cultured human mammary epithelial cells maintain an inner circadian oscillator, with key clock genes oscillating in a circadian fashion. In the same cells, the expression of the estrogen receptor α (ERA) gene also oscillates in a circadian fashion. In contrast, ERA-positive and -negative breast cancer epithelial cells show disruption of the inner clock. Further, ERA-positive breast cancer cells do not display circadian oscillation of ERA expression. Our findings suggest that estrogen signaling could be affected not only in ERA-negative breast cancer, but also in ERA-positive breast cancer due to lack of circadian availability of ERA. Entrainment of the inner clock of breast epithelial cells, by taking into consideration the biological time component, provides a novel tool to test mechanistically whether defective circadian mechanisms can affect hormone signaling relevant to breast cancer.
circadian rhythm; clock genes; estrogen receptor alpha (ERA); breast cancer cells; entrainment; serum shock
Circadian rhythms are daily oscillations of multiple biological processes directed by endogenous clocks. The circadian timing system comprises peripheral oscillators located in most tissues of the body and a central pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Circadian genes and the proteins produced by these genes constitute the molecular components of the circadian oscillator which form positive/negative feedback loops and generate circadian rhythms. The circadian regulation extends beyond clock genes to involve various clock-controlled genes (CCGs) including various cell cycle genes. Aberrant expression of circadian clock genes could have important consequences on the transactivation of downstream targets that control the cell cycle and on the ability of cells to undergo apoptosis. This may lead to genomic instability and accelerated cellular proliferation potentially promoting carcinogenesis. Different lines of evidence in mice and humans suggest that cancer may be a circadian-related disorder. The genetic or functional disruption of the molecular circadian clock has been found in various cancers including breast, ovarian, endometrial, prostate and hematological cancers. The acquisition of current data in circadian clock mechanism may help chronotherapy, which takes into consideration the biological time to improve treatments by devising new therapeutic approaches for treating circadian-related disorders, especially cancer.
The circadian clock of Neurospora crassa regulates the rhythmic expression of a number of genes encoding diverse functions which, as an ensemble, are adaptive to life in a rhythmic environment of alternating levels of light and dark, warmth and coolness, and dryness and humidity. Previous differential screens have identified a number of such genes based solely on their cycling expression, including clock-controlled gene 9 (ccg-9). Sequence analysis now shows the predicted CCG-9 polypeptide to be homologous to a novel form of trehalose synthase; as such it would catalyze the synthesis of the disaccharide trehalose, which plays an important role in protecting many cells from environmental stresses. Consistent with this, heat, glucose starvation, and osmotic stress induce ccg-9 transcript accumulation. Surprisingly, however, a parallel role in development is suggested by the finding that inactivation of ccg-9 results in altered conidiophore morphology and abolishes the normal circadian rhythm of asexual macroconidial development. Examination of a clock component, FRQ, in the ccg-9-null strain revealed normal cycling, phosphorylation, and light induction, indicating that loss of the conidiation rhythm is not due to changes in either the circadian oscillator or light input into the clock but pointing instead to a defect in circadian output. These data imply an interplay between a role of trehalose in stress protection and an apparent requirement for trehalose in clock regulation of conidiation under constant environmental conditions. This requirement can be bypassed by a daily light signal which drives a light-entrained rhythm in conidiation in the ccg-9-null strain; this bypass suggests that the trehalose requirement is related to clock control of development and not to the developmental process itself. Circadian control of trehalose synthase suggests a link between clock control of stress responses and that of development.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have disturbances in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. These are reflected in altered circadian rhythm of circulating serum cortisol, melatonin and IL-6 levels and in chronic fatigue. We hypothesized that the molecular machinery responsible for the circadian timekeeping is perturbed in RA. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of circadian clock in RA.
Gene expression of thirteen clock genes was analyzed in the synovial membrane of RA and control osteoarthritis (OA) patients. BMAL1 protein was detected using immunohistochemistry. Cell autonomous clock oscillation was started in RA and OA synovial fibroblasts using serum shock. The effect of pro-inflammatory stimulus on clock gene expression in synovial fibroblasts was studied using IL-6 and TNF-α.
Gene expression analysis disclosed disconcerted circadian timekeeping and immunohistochemistry revealed strong cytoplasmic localization of BMAL1 in RA patients. Perturbed circadian timekeeping is at least in part inflammation independent and cell autonomous, because RA synovial fibroblasts display altered circadian expression of several clock components, and perturbed circadian production of IL-6 and IL-1β after clock resetting. However, inflammatory stimulus disturbs the rhythm in cultured fibroblasts. Throughout the experiments ARNTL2 and NPAS2 appeared to be the most affected clock genes in human immune-inflammatory conditions.
We conclude that the molecular machinery controlling the circadian rhythm is disturbed in RA patients.
Epigenetic changes, such as DNA methylation or histone modification, can remodel the chromatin and regulate gene expression. Remodeling of chromatin provides an efficient mechanism of transducing signals, such as light or nutrient availability, to regulate gene expression. CLOCK:BMAL1 mediated activation of clock-controlled genes (CCGs) is coupled to circadian changes in histone modification at their promoters. Several chromatin modifiers, such as the deacetylases SIRT1 and HDAC3 or methyltransferase MLL1, have been shown to be recruited to the promoters of the CCGs in a circadian manner. Interestingly, the central element of the core clock machinery, the transcription factor CLOCK, also possesses histone acetyltransferase activity. Rhythmic expression of the CCGs is abolished in the absence of these chromatin modifiers. Recent research has demonstrated that chromatin remodeling is at the cross-roads of circadian rhythms and regulation of metabolism and aging. It would be of interest to identify if similar pathways exist in the epigenetic regulation of memory formation.
memory; epigenetics; circadian rhythms; clock
Altered estrogen receptor α (ERA) signaling and altered circadian rhythms are both features of breast cancer. By using a method to entrain circadian oscillations in human cultured cells, we recently reported that the expression of key clock genes oscillates in a circadian fashion in ERA-positive breast epithelial cells but not in breast cancer cells, regardless of their ERA status. Moreover, we reported that ERA mRNA oscillates in a circadian fashion in ERA-positive breast epithelial cells, but not in ERA-positive breast cancer cells. By using ERA-positive HME1 breast epithelial cells, which can be both entrained in vitro and can form mammary gland-like acinar structures in three-dimensional (3D) culture, first we identified a circuit encompassing ERA and an estrogen-regulated loop consisting of two circadian clock genes, PER2 and BMAL1. Further, we demonstrated that this estrogen-regulated circuit is necessary for breast epithelial acinar morphogenesis. Disruption of this circuit due to ERA-knockdown, negatively affects the estrogen-sustained circadian PER2-BMAL1 mechanism as well as the formation of 3D HME1 acini. Conversely, knockdown of either PER2 or BMAL1, by hampering the PER2-BMAL1 loop of the circadian clock, negatively affects ERA circadian oscillations and 3D breast acinar morphogenesis. To our knowledge, this study provides the first evidence of the implication of an ERA-circadian clock mechanism in the breast acinar morphogenetic process.
3D acinar morphogenesis; BMAL1; PER2; breast epithelial cells; circadian clock; estrogen receptor alpha (ERA); estrogen
The eukaryotic circadian oscillators consist of autoregulatory negative feedback loops. However, little is known about the role of post-transcriptional regulation of RNA in circadian oscillators. In the Neurospora circadian negative feedback loop, FRQ and FRH form the FFC complex that represses frq transcription. Here we show that FFC also binds frq RNA and interacts with the exosome to regulate frq RNA decay. Consequently, frq RNA is robustly rhythmic as it is more stable when FRQ levels are low. Silencing of RRP44, the catalytic subunit of the exosome, elevates frq RNA levels and impairs clock function. In addition, rrp44 is a clock-controlled gene and a direct target of the WHITE COLLAR complex, and RRP44 controls the circadian expression of at least one ccg. Taken together, these results suggest that FFC and the exosome are part of a post-transcriptional negative feedback loop that regulates frq transcript levels and the circadian output pathway.
Several different environmental signals can induce asexual spore development (conidiation) and expression of developmentally regulated genes in Neurospora crassa. However, under constant conditions, where no environmental cues for conidiation are present, the endogenous circadian clock in N. crassa promotes daily rhythms in expression of known developmental genes and of conidiation. We anticipated that the same pathway of gene regulation would be followed during clock-controlled conidiation and environmental induction of conidiation and that the circadian clock would need only to control the initial developmental switch. Previous experiments showed that high-level developmental induction of the clock-controlled genes eas (ccg-2) and ccg-1 requires the developmental regulatory proteins FL and ACON-2, respectively, and normal developmental induction of fl mRNA expression requires ACON-2. We demonstrate that the circadian clock regulates rhythmic fl gene expression and that fl rhythmicity requires ACON-2. However, we find that clock regulation of eas (ccg-2) is normal in an fl mutant strain and ccg-1 expression is rhythmic in an acon-2 mutant strain. Together, these data point to the endogenous clock and the environment following separate pathways to regulate conidiation-specific gene expression.
Circadian clocks in vertebrates are thought to be composed of transcriptional-translational feedback loops involving a highly conversed set of “clock genes”: namely, period (Per1–3) and cryptochrome (Cry1–2), which encode negative transcriptional regulators; and Bmal1, Clock, and Npas2, which encode positive regulators. Aanat, which encodes arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT), the key regulatory enzyme that drives the circadian rhythm of melatonin synthesis, contains a circadian E-box element (CACGTG) in its proximal promoter that is potentially capable of binding CLOCK: BMAL1 and NPAS2: BMAL1 heterodimers. The present study was conducted to investigate whether CLOCK and/or NPAS2 regulates Aanat expression in photoreceptor cells. Npas2 and Clock are both expressed in photoreceptor cells in vivo and in vitro. To assess the roles of CLOCK and NPAS2 in Aanat expression, gene specific microRNA (miR) vectors were used to knock down expression of these clock genes in photoreceptor-enriched cell cultures. The knockdown of CLOCK protein significantly reduced the circadian expression of Npas2, Per2, and Aanat transcripts but had no effect on the circadian rhythm of Bmal1 transcript level. The knockdown of NPAS2 significantly damped the circadian rhythm of Aanat mRNAs but had no effect on circadian expression of any of clock genes examined, except Npas2 itself. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies indicated that both CLOCK and NPAS2 bound to the Aanat promoter in situ. Thus, CLOCK and NPAS2 have overlapping roles in the clock output pathway that regulates the rhythmic expression of Aanat in photoreceptors. However, CLOCK plays the predominant role in the chicken photoreceptor circadian clockwork mechanism, including the regulation of NPAS2 expression.
circadian clock genes; circadian rhythms; retina; melatonin; transcription factors; RNA interference
The complexity of tissue- and day time-specific regulation of thousands of clock-controlled genes (CCGs) suggests that many regulatory mechanisms contribute to the transcriptional output of the circadian clock. We aim to predict these mechanisms using a large scale promoter analysis of CCGs.
Our study is based on a meta-analysis of DNA-array data from rodent tissues. We searched in the promoter regions of 2065 CCGs for highly overrepresented transcription factor binding sites. In order to compensate the relatively high GC-content of CCG promoters, a novel background model to avoid a bias towards GC-rich motifs was employed. We found that many of the transcription factors with overrepresented binding sites in CCG promoters exhibit themselves circadian rhythms. Among the predicted factors are known regulators such as CLOCK∶BMAL1, DBP, HLF, E4BP4, CREB, RORα and the recently described regulators HSF1, STAT3, SP1 and HNF-4α. As additional promising candidates of circadian transcriptional regulators PAX-4, C/EBP, EVI-1, IRF, E2F, AP-1, HIF-1 and NF-Y were identified. Moreover, GC-rich motifs (SP1, EGR, ZF5, AP-2, WT1, NRF-1) and AT-rich motifs (MEF-2, HMGIY, HNF-1, OCT-1) are significantly overrepresented in promoter regions of CCGs. Putative tissue-specific binding sites such as HNF-3 for liver, NKX2.5 for heart or Myogenin for skeletal muscle were found. The regulation of the erythropoietin (Epo) gene was analysed, which exhibits many binding sites for circadian regulators. We provide experimental evidence for its circadian regulated expression in the adult murine kidney. Basing on a comprehensive literature search we integrate our predictions into a regulatory network of core clock and clock-controlled genes. Our large scale analysis of the CCG promoters reveals the complexity and extensiveness of the circadian regulation in mammals. Results of this study point to connections of the circadian clock to other functional systems including metabolism, endocrine regulation and pharmacokinetics.
microRNAs (miRNAs) are shown to be involved in the regulation of circadian clock. However, it remains largely unknown whether miRNAs can regulate the core clock genes (Clock and Bmal1).
In this study, we found that mir-142-3p directly targeted the 3’UTR of human BMAL1 and mouse Bmal1. The over-expression (in 293ET and NIH3T3 cells) and knockdown (in U87MG cells) of mir-142-3p reduced and up-regulated the Bmal1/BMAL1 mRNA and protein levels, respectively. Moreover, the expression level of mir-142-3p oscillated in serum-shocked NIH3T3 cells and the results of ChIP and luciferase reporter assays suggested that the expression of mir-142-3p was directly controlled by CLOCK/BMAL1 heterodimers in NIH3T3 cells.
Our study demonstrates that mir-142-3p can directly target the 3’UTR of Bmal1. In addition, the expression of mir-142-3p is controlled by CLOCK/BMAL1 heterodimers, suggesting a potential negative feedback loop consisting of the miRNAs and the core clock genes. These findings open new perspective for studying the molecular mechanism of circadian clock.
mir-142-3p; Bmal1; Circadian clock
The circadian rhythm of about 24 hours is a fundamental physiological function observed in almost all organisms from prokaryotes to humans. Identification of clock genes has allowed us to study the molecular bases for circadian behaviors and temporal physiological processes such as hormonal secretion, and has prompted the idea that molecular clocks reside not only in a central pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of hypothalamus in mammals, but also in peripheral tissues, even in immortalized cells. Furthermore, previous molecular dissection revealed that the mechanism of circadian oscillation at a molecular level is based on transcriptional regulation of clock and clock-controlled genes.
We systematically analyzed the mRNA expression of clock and clock-controlled genes in mouse peripheral tissues. Eight genes (mBmal1, mNpas2, mRev-erbα, mDbp, mRev-erbβ, mPer3, mPer1 and mPer2; given in the temporal order of the rhythm peak) showed robust circadian expressions of mRNAs in all tissues except testis, suggesting that these genes are core molecules of the molecular biological clock. The bioinformatics analysis revealed that these genes have one or a combination of 3 transcriptional elements (RORE, DBPE, and E-box), which are conserved among human, mouse, and rat genome sequences, and indicated that these 3 elements may be responsible for the biological timing of expression of canonical clock genes.
The observation of oscillatory profiles of canonical clock genes is not only useful for physiological and pathological examination of the circadian clock in various organs but also important for systematic understanding of transcriptional regulation on a genome-wide basis. Our finding of the oscillatory expression of canonical clock genes with a temporal order provides us an interesting hypothesis, that cyclic timing of all clock and clock-controlled genes may be dependent on several transcriptional elements including 3 known elements, E-box, RORE, and DBPE.
The mammalian circadian timing system consists of a master pacemaker in neurons of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and clocks of a similar molecular makeup in most peripheral body cells. Peripheral oscillators are self-sustained and cell autonomous, but they have to be synchronized by the SCN to ensure phase coherence within the organism. In principle, the rhythmic expression of genes in peripheral organs could thus be driven not only by local oscillators, but also by circadian systemic signals. To discriminate between these mechanisms, we engineered a mouse strain with a conditionally active liver clock, in which REV-ERBα represses the transcription of the essential core clock gene Bmal1 in a doxycycline-dependent manner. We examined circadian liver gene expression genome-wide in mice in which hepatocyte oscillators were either running or arrested, and found that the rhythmic transcription of most genes depended on functional hepatocyte clocks. However, we discovered 31 genes, including the core clock gene mPer2, whose expression oscillated robustly irrespective of whether the liver clock was running or not. By contrast, in liver explants cultured in vitro, circadian cycles of mPer2::luciferase bioluminescence could only be observed when hepatocyte oscillators were operational. Hence, the circadian cycles observed in the liver of intact animals without functional hepatocyte oscillators were likely generated by systemic signals. The finding that rhythmic mPer2 expression can be driven by both systemic cues and local oscillators suggests a plausible mechanism for the phase entrainment of subsidiary clocks in peripheral organs.
In contrast to previously held belief, molecular circadian oscillators are not restricted to specialized pacemaker tissues, such as the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), but exist in virtually all body cells. Although the circadian clocks operative in peripheral cell types are as robust as those residing in SCN neurons, they quickly become desynchronized in vitro due to variations in period length. Hence, in intact animals, the phase coherence between peripheral oscillators must be established by daily signals generated by the SCN master clock. Although the hierarchy between master and slave oscillators is now well established, the respective roles of these clocks in governing the circadian transcription program in a given organ have never been examined. In principle, the circadian expression of genes in a peripheral tissue could be driven either by cyclic systemic cues, by peripheral oscillators, or by both. In order to discriminate between genes regulated by local oscillators and systemic cues in liver, we generated mice in which hepatocyte clocks can be turned on and off at will. These studies suggest that 90% of the circadian transcription program in the liver is abolished or strongly attenuated when hepatocyte clocks are turned off, indicating that the expression of most circadian liver genes is orchestrated by local cellular clocks. The remaining 10% of cyclically expressed liver genes continue to be transcribed in a robustly circadian fashion in the absence of functional hepatocyte oscillators. These genes, which unexpectedly include the bona fide clock gene mPer2, must therefore be regulated by oscillating systemic signals, such as hormones, metabolites, or body temperature. Although temperature rhythms display only modest amplitudes, they appear to play a significant role in the phase entrainment of mPer2 transcription.
Research on mice engineered with an inducible liver clock enabled identification of some genes with expression controlled by the local clock, and other genes (includingmPer2) that maintained circadian oscillations thanks to cues from the SCN.
The cellular circadian clock and systemic cues drive rhythmicity in the transcriptome of adult peripheral tissues. However, the oscillating status of the circadian clocks in fetal tissues, and their response to maternal cues, are less clear. Most clock genes do not cycle in fetal livers from mice and rats, although tissue level rhythms rapidly emerge when fetal mouse liver explants are cultured in vitro. Thus, in the fetal mouse liver, the circadian clock does not oscillate at the cellular level (but is induced to oscillate in culture). To gain a comprehensive overview of the clock status in the fetal liver during late gestation, we performed microarray analyses on fetal liver tissues. In the fetal liver we did not observe circadian rhythms of clock gene expression or many other transcripts known to be rhythmically expressed in the adult liver. Nevertheless, JTK_CYCLE analysis identified some transcripts in the fetal liver that were rhythmically expressed, albeit at low amplitudes. Upon data filtering by coefficient of variation, the expression levels for transcripts related to pancreatic exocrine enzymes and zymogen secretion were found to undergo synchronized daily fluctuations at high amplitudes. These results suggest that maternal cues influence the fetal liver, despite the fact that we did not detect circadian rhythms of canonical clock gene expression in the fetal liver. These results raise important questions on the role of the circadian clock, or lack thereof, during ontogeny.
The molecular clock maintains energy constancy by producing circadian oscillations of rate-limiting enzymes involved in tissue metabolism across the day and night1–3. During periods of feeding, pancreatic islets secrete insulin to maintain glucose homeostasis, and while rhythmic control of insulin release is recognized to be dysregulated in humans with diabetes4, it is not known how the circadian clock may affect this process. Here we show that pancreatic islets possess self-sustained circadian gene and protein oscillations of the transcription factors CLOCK and BMAL1. The phase of oscillation of islet genes involved in growth, glucose metabolism, and insulin signaling is delayed in circadian mutant mice, and both Clock5,6 and Bmal17 mutants exhibit impaired glucose tolerance, reduced insulin secretion, and defects in size and proliferation of pancreatic islets that worsen with age. Clock disruption leads to transcriptome-wide alterations in the expression of islet genes involved in growth, survival, and synaptic vesicle assembly. Remarkably, conditional ablation of the pancreatic clock causes diabetes mellitus due to defective β-cell function at the very latest stage of stimulus-secretion coupling. These results demonstrate a role for the β-cell clock in coordinating insulin secretion with the sleep-wake cycle, and reveal that ablation of the pancreatic clock can trigger onset of diabetes mellitus.
to examine firstly whether CLOCK exhibits a circadian expression in human visceral (V) and subcutaneous (S) adipose tissue (AT) in vitro as compared with BMAL1 and PER2, and secondly to investigate the possible effect of the glucocorticoid analogue dexamethasone (DEX) on positive and negative clock genes expression.
Subjects and Methods
VAT and SAT biopsies were obtained from morbid obese women (body mass index≥40 kg/m2) (n = 6). In order to investigate rhythmic expression pattern of clock genes and the effect of DEX on CLOCK, PER2 and BMAL1 expression, control AT (without DEX) and AT explants treated with DEX (2 hours) were cultured during 24 h and gene expression was analyzed at the following times: 10:00 h, 14:00 h, 18:00 h, 22:00 h, 02:00 h and 06:00 h, using qRT-PCR.
CLOCK, BMAL1 and PER2 expression exhibited circadian patterns in both VAT and SAT explants that were adjusted to a typical 24 h sinusoidal curve. PER2 expression (negative element) was in antiphase with respect to CLOCK and in phase with BMAL1 expression (both positive elements) in the SAT (situation not present in VAT). A marked effect of DEX exposure on both positive and negative clock genes expression patterns was observed. Indeed, DEX treatment modified the rhythmicity pattern towards altered patterns with a period lower than 24 hours in all genes and in both tissues.
24 h patterns in CLOCK and BMAL1 (positive clock elements) and PER2 (negative element) mRNA levels were observed in human adipose explants. These patterns were altered by dexamethasone exposure.
Prostate cancer (PCa) is a major age-related malignancy as increasing age correlates with increased risk for developing this neoplasm. Similarly, alterations in circadian rhythms have also been associated with the aging population and cancer risk. The pineal hormone melatonin is known to regulate circadian rhythms, which are under the control of a core set of genes: Period 1, 2, 3 (Per 1 – 3); Cryptochrome 1, 2 (Cry 1, 2); Clock, and Bmal 1, 2. Melatonin levels have been shown to decrease in cancer patients and exogenous melatonin exhibits anti-proliferative effects against certain cancers. In this study, we challenged the hypothesis that melatonin imparts anti-proliferative effects in prostate cancer via resynchronization of deregulated core clock circuitry. We found that Clock and Per2 protein levels were downregulated whereas Bmal1 protein levels were upregulated in PCa cells, compared to normal prostate cells. Additionally, employing automated quantitative analysis of a microarray containing human tissues, we found that compared to benign tissues, Clock and Per2 levels were downregulated whereas Bmal1 levels were upregulated in PCa and other proliferative prostatic conditions. Overexpression of Per2 was found to result in a significant loss of PCa cell growth and viability. Interestingly, melatonin treatment resulted in an increase in Per2 and Clock and a reduction in Bmal1 in PCa cells. Further, melatonin treatment resulted in a resynchronization of oscillatory circadian rhythm genes (Dbp and Per2). Our data support our hypothesis and suggest that melatonin should be thoroughly investigated as an agent for the management of PCa and other age-related malignancies.
circadian rhythm; prostate cancer; melatonin
Morphological and functional changes during ameloblast and odontoblast differentiation suggest that enamel and dentin formation is under circadian control. Circadian rhythms are endogenous self-sustained oscillations with periods of 24 hours that control diverse physiological and metabolic processes. Mammalian clock genes play a key role in synchronizing circadian functions in many organs. However, close to nothing is known on clock genes expression during tooth development. In this work, we investigated the expression of four clock genes during tooth development. Our results showed that circadian clock genes Bmal1, clock, per1, and per2 mRNAs were detected in teeth by RT-PCR. Immunohistochemistry showed that clock protein expression was first detected in teeth at the bell stage (E17), being expressed in EOE and dental papilla cells. At post-natal day four (PN4), all four clock proteins continued to be expressed in teeth but with different intensities, being strongly expressed within the nucleus of ameloblasts and odontoblasts and down-regulated in dental pulp cells. Interestingly, at PN21 incisor, expression of clock proteins was down-regulated in odontoblasts of the crown-analogue side but expression was persisting in root-analogue side odontoblasts. In contrast, both crown and root odontoblasts were strongly stained for all four clock proteins in first molars at PN21. Within the periodontal ligament (PDL) space, epithelial rests of Malassez (ERM) showed the strongest expression among other PDL cells. Our data suggests that clock genes might be involved in the regulation of ameloblast and odontoblast functions, such as enamel and dentin protein secretion and matrix mineralization.
Clock genes; Tooth development; Bmal1; Clock; Per1; Per2; expression pattern; immunohistochemistry
Various physiological and behavioral processes exhibit circadian rhythmicity. These rhythms are usually maintained by negative feedback loops of core clock genes, namely, CLOCK, BMAL, PER, and CRY. Recently, dysfunction in the circadian clock has been recognized as an important foundation for the pathophysiology of lifestyle-related diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers. We have reported that angiopoietin-like protein 2 (ANGPTL2) contributes to the pathogenesis of these lifestyle-related diseases by inducing chronic inflammation. However, molecular mechanisms underlying regulation of ANGPTL2 expression are poorly understood. Here, we assess circadian rhythmicity of ANGPTL2 expression in various mouse tissues. We observed that ANGPTL2 rhythmicity was similar to that of the PER2 gene, which is regulated by the CLOCK/BMAL1 complex. Promoter activity of the human ANGPTL2 gene was significantly induced by CLOCK and BMAL1, an induction markedly attenuated by CRY co-expression. We also identified functional E-boxes in the ANGPTL2 promoter and observed occupancy of these sites by endogenous CLOCK in human osteosarcoma cells. Furthermore, Cry-deficient mice exhibited arrhythmic Angptl2 expression. Taken together, these data suggest that periodic expression of ANGPTL2 is regulated by a molecular clock.
Following on from the emerging importance of the pancreas circadian clock on islet function and the development of type 2 diabetes in rodent models, we aimed to examine circadian gene expression in human islets. The oscillator properties were assessed in intact islets as well as in beta cells.
We established a system for long-term bioluminescence recording in cultured human islets, employing lentivector gene delivery of the core clock gene Bmal1 (also known as Arntl)-luciferase reporter. Beta cells were stably labelled using a rat insulin2 promoter fluorescent construct. Single-islet/cell oscillation profiles were measured by combined bioluminescence–fluorescence time-lapse microscopy.
Human islets synchronised in vitro exhibited self-sustained circadian oscillations of Bmal1-luciferase expression at both the population and single-islet levels, with period lengths of 23.6 and 23.9 h, respectively. Endogenous BMAL1 and CRY1 transcript expression was circadian in synchronised islets over 48 h, and antiphasic to REV-ERBα (also known as NR1D1), PER1, PER2, PER3 and DBP transcript circadian profiles. HNF1A and PDX1 exhibited weak circadian oscillations, in phase with the REV-ERBα transcript. Dispersed islet cells were strongly oscillating as well, at population and single-cell levels. Importantly, beta and non-beta cells revealed oscillatory profiles that were well synchronised with each other.
We provide for the first time compelling evidence for high-amplitude cell-autonomous circadian oscillators displayed in human pancreatic islets and in dispersed human islet cells. Moreover, these clocks are synchronised between beta and non-beta cells in primary human islet cell cultures.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00125-012-2779-7) contains peer-reviewed but unedited supplementary material, which is available to authorised users.
Beta cells; Circadian clocks; Human pancreatic islets; Time-lapse microscopy
Melatonin is rhythmically synthesized and released by the avian pineal gland and retina during the night, targeting an array of tissues and affecting a variety of physiological and behavioral processes. Among these targets, astrocytes express two melatonin receptor subtypes in vitro, the Mel1A and Mel1C receptors, which play a role in regulating metabolic activity and calcium homeostasis in these cells. Molecular characterization of chick astrocytes has revealed the expression of orthologs of the mammalian clock genes including clock, cry1, cry2, per2, and per3. To test the hypothesis that pineal melatonin entrains molecular clockworks in downstream cells, we asked whether coculturing astrocytes with pinealocytes or administration of exogenous melatonin cycles would entrain metabolic rhythms of 2-deoxy [14C]-glucose (2DG] uptake and/or clock gene expression in cultured astrocytes. Rhythmic secretion of melatonin from light-entrained pinealocytes in coculture as well as cyclic administration of exogenous melatonin entrained rhythms of 2DG uptake and expression of Gallus per2 (gper2) and/or gper3, but not of gcry1 mRNA. Surprisingly, melatonin also caused a dose-dependent increase in mitotic activity of astrocytes, both in coculture and when administered exogenously. The observation that melatonin stimulates mitotic activity in diencephalic astrocytes suggests a trophic role of the hormone in brain development. The data suggest a dual role for melatonin in avian astrocytes: synchronization of rhythmic processes in these cells and regulation of growth and differentiation. These two processes may or may not be mutually exclusive.
astrocytes; avian; circadian; development; melatonin
Rhythmic histone acetylation underlies the oscillating expression of clock genes in the mammalian circadian clock system. Cellular factors that contain histone acetyltransferase and histone deacetylase activity have been implicated in these processes by direct interactions with clock genes, but their functional relevance remains to be assessed by use of appropriate animal models. Here, using transgenic fly models, we show that CREB-binding protein (CBP) participates in the transcriptional regulation of the Drosophila CLOCK/CYCLE (dCLK/CYC) heterodimer. CBP knockdown in pigment dispersing factor-expressing cells lengthens the period of adult locomotor rhythm with the prolonged expression of period and timeless genes, while CBP overexpression in timeless-expressing cells causes arrhythmic circadian behaviors with the impaired expression of these dCLK/CYC-induced clock genes. In contrast to the mammalian circadian clock system, CBP overexpression attenuates the transcriptional activity of the dCLK/CYC heterodimer in cultured cells, possibly by targeting the PER-ARNT-SIM domain of dCLK. Our data suggest that the Drosophila circadian clock system has evolved a distinct mechanism to tightly regulate the robust transcriptional potency of the dCLK/CYC heterodimer.
Circadian clocks are the endogenous oscillators that regulate rhythmic physiological and behavioral changes to correspond to daily light-dark cycles. Molecular dissections have revealed that transcriptional feedback loops of the circadian clock genes drive the molecular oscillation, in which PER/CRY complexes inhibit the transcriptional activity of the CLOCK/BMAL1 heterodimer to constitute a negative feedback loop. In this study, we identified the type II protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) as an interacting molecule of CRY1. Although the Prmt5 gene was constitutively expressed, increased interaction of PRMT5 with CRY1 was observed when the Per1 gene was repressed both in synchronized mouse liver and NIH3T3 cells. Moreover, rhythmic recruitment of PRMT5 and CRY1 to the Per1 gene promoter was found to be associated with an increased level of histone H4R3 dimethylation and Per1 gene repression. Consistently, decreased histone H4R3 dimethylation and altered rhythmic Per1 gene expression were observed in Prmt5-depleted cells. Taken together, these findings provide an insight into the link between histone arginine methylation by PRMT5 and transcriptional regulation of the circadian Per1 gene.
The authors identify a new role of the circadian clock in coordinating mRNA translation during ribosome biogenesis, a key process for cell metabolism.
Biological rhythms play a fundamental role in the physiology and behavior of most living organisms. Rhythmic circadian expression of clock-controlled genes is orchestrated by a molecular clock that relies on interconnected negative feedback loops of transcription regulators. Here we show that the circadian clock exerts its function also through the regulation of mRNA translation. Namely, the circadian clock influences the temporal translation of a subset of mRNAs involved in ribosome biogenesis by controlling the transcription of translation initiation factors as well as the clock-dependent rhythmic activation of signaling pathways involved in their regulation. Moreover, the circadian oscillator directly regulates the transcription of ribosomal protein mRNAs and ribosomal RNAs. Thus the circadian clock exerts a major role in coordinating transcription and translation steps underlying ribosome biogenesis.
Most living organisms on earth present biological rhythms that play a fundamental role in the coordination of their physiology and behavior. The discovery of the molecular circadian clock gives important insight into the mechanisms involved in the generation of these rhythms. Indeed, this molecular clock orchestrates the rhythmic transcription of clock-controlled genes involved in different aspects of metabolism, for example lipid, carbohydrate, and xenobiotic metabolisms in the liver. However, we show here that the circadian clock could also exert its function through the coordination of mRNA translation. Namely, the circadian clock influences the temporal translation of a subset of mRNAs by controlling the expression and activation of translation initiation factors, as well as the clock-dependent rhythmic activation of signaling pathways involved in their regulation. These rhythmically translated mRNAs are mainly involved in ribosome biogenesis, an energy consuming process, which has to be gated to a period when the cell resources are less limited. Moreover, the role of the circadian oscillator in this process is highlighted by its direct regulation of the transcription of ribosomal protein mRNAs and ribosomal RNAs. Thus our findings suggest that the circadian clock exerts a major role in coordinating transcription and translation steps underlying ribosome biogenesis.
The core oscillator that generates circadian rhythm in eukaryotes consists of transcription/translation-based autoregulatory feedback loops by which clock gene products negatively regulate their own expression. Control of the accumulation and nuclear entry of the negative regulators PER and CRY is believed to be a key step in these loops. We clarified the mutual interaction between zebrafish clock-related proteins and their sub-cellular localizations in NIH3T3 cells. Six CRYs exist in zebrafish, of which zCRY1a strongly represses zCLOCK1: zBMAL3-mediated transcription, but zCRY3 does not. We show that zCRY1a interacts with zCLOCK1 and zBMAL3, facilitating nuclear accumulation, whereas zCRY3 associates with neither one and does not influence their sub-cellular distributions. We cloned zPer2 cDNA and showed that the protein product encoded by the cDNA acts as a moderate transcriptional repressor. In our sub-cellular localization studies we also found that zPER2 interacts with the zCLOCK1:zBMAL3 heterodimer, causing its cytoplasmic retention. zCRY1a and zPER2 apparently have opposite effects on the sub-cellular distribution of zCLOCK:zBMAL heterodimer. We speculate that the opposite regulation of the sub-cellular distribution of this is associated with the different transcriptional repression abilities of zCRY1a and zPER2. zCRY1a acts as a potent transcriptional inhibitor by interacting directly with the zCLOCK:zBMAL heterodimer in the nucleus, whereas zPER2 maintains the zCLOCK:zBMAL heterodimer in the cytoplasm, resulting in transactivation repression.