Suppressed cellular oscillations in after-hours mutant mice are associated with enhanced circadian phase-resetting

Clare Guilding, Fiona Scott, David A. Bechtold, Timothy M. Brown, Sven Wegner, Hugh D. Piggins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Within the core molecular clock, protein phosphorylation and degradation play a vital role in determining circadian period. The 'after-hours' (Afh) mutation in mouse slows the degradation of the core clock protein Cryptochrome, lengthening the period of the molecular clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) and behavioural wheel-running rhythms. However, we do not yet know how the Afh mutation affects other aspects of physiology or the activity of circadian oscillators in other brain regions. Here we report that daily rhythms of metabolism and ingestive behaviours are altered in these animals, as are PERIOD2::LUCIFERASE (PER2::LUC) rhythms in mediobasal hypothalamic nuclei, which influence these behaviours. Overall there is a trend towards period lengthening and a decrease in amplitude of PER2::LUC rhythms throughout the brain. Imaging of single cells from the arcuate and dorsomedial hypothalamic nuclei revealed this reduction in tissue oscillator amplitude to be due to a decrease in the amplitude, rather than a desynchrony, of single cells. Consistent with existing models of oscillator function, this cellular phenotype was associated with a greater susceptibility to phase-shifting stimuli in vivo and in vitro, with light evoking high-amplitude Type 0 resetting in Afh mutant mice. Together, these findings reveal unexpected consequences of the Afh mutation on the amplitude and synchrony of individual cellular oscillators in the SCN. © 2013 The Physiological Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1080
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


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