Analysis of core circadian feedback loop in suprachiasmatic nucleus of mCry1-luc transgenic reporter mouse.

ES Maywood, L Drynan, JE Chesham, MD Edwards, H Dardente, JM Fustin, DG Hazlerigg, JS O'Neill, GF Codner, NJ Smyllie, M Brancaccio, MH Hastings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) coordinates circadian rhythms that adapt the individual to solar time. SCN pacemaking revolves around feedback loops in which expression of Period (Per) and Cryptochrome (Cry) genes is periodically suppressed by their protein products. Specifically, PER/CRY complexes act at E-box sequences in Per and Cry to inhibit their transactivation by CLOCK/BMAL1 heterodimers. To function effectively, these closed intracellular loops need to be synchronized between SCN cells and to the light/dark cycle. For Per expression, this is mediated by neuropeptidergic and glutamatergic extracellular cues acting via cAMP/calcium-responsive elements (CREs) in Per genes. Cry genes, however, carry no CREs, and how CRY-dependent SCN pacemaking is synchronized remains unclear. Furthermore, whereas reporter lines are available to explore Per circadian expression in real time, no Cry equivalent exists. We therefore created a mouse, B6.Cg-Tg(Cry1-luc)01Ld, carrying a transgene (mCry1-luc) consisting of mCry1 elements containing an E-box and E'-box driving firefly luciferase. mCry1-luc organotypic SCN slices exhibited stable circadian bioluminescence rhythms with appropriate phase, period, profile, and spatial organization. In SCN lacking vasoactive intestinal peptide or its receptor, mCry1 expression was damped and desynchronized between cells. Despite the absence of CREs, mCry1-luc expression was nevertheless (indirectly) sensitive to manipulation of cAMP-dependent signaling. In mPer1/2-null SCN, mCry1-luc bioluminescence was arrhythmic and no longer suppressed by elevation of cAMP. Finally, an SCN graft procedure showed that PER-independent as well as PER-dependent mechanisms could sustain circadian expression of mCry1. The mCry1-luc mouse therefore reports circadian mCry1 expression and its interactions with vasoactive intestinal peptide, cAMP, and PER at the heart of the SCN pacemaker.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)9547-9552
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

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