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BACKGROUND - The paternal allele of Ube3a is silenced by imprinting in neurons, and Angelman syndrome (AS) is a disorder arising from a deletion or mutation of the maternal Ube3a allele, which thereby eliminates Ube3a neuronal expression. Sleep disorders such as short sleep duration and increased sleep onset latency are very common in AS.
RESULTS - We found a unique link between neuronal imprinting of Ube3a and circadian rhythms in two mouse models of AS, including enfeebled circadian activity behavior and slowed molecular rhythms in ex vivo brain tissues. As a consequence of compromised circadian behavior, metabolic homeostasis is also disrupted in AS mice. Unsilencing the paternal Ube3a allele restores functional circadian periodicity in neurons deficient in maternal Ube3a but does not affect periodicity in peripheral tissues that are not imprinted for uniparental Ube3a expression. The ubiquitin ligase encoded by Ube3a interacts with the central clock components BMAL1 and BMAL2. Moreover, inactivation of Ube3a expression elevates BMAL1 levels in brain regions that control circadian behavior of AS-model mice, indicating an important role for Ube3a in modulating BMAL1 turnover.
CONCLUSIONS - Ube3a expression constitutes a direct mechanistic connection between symptoms of a human neurological disorder and the central circadian clock mechanism. The lengthened circadian period leads to delayed phase, which could explain the short sleep duration and increased sleep onset latency of AS subjects. Moreover, we report the pharmacological rescue of an AS phenotype, in this case, altered circadian period. These findings reveal potential treatments for sleep disorders in AS patients.
Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - Disruption of circadian (daily) timekeeping enhances the risk of metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. While clinical observations have suggested that insulin action is not constant throughout the 24 hr cycle, its magnitude and periodicity have not been assessed. Moreover, when circadian rhythmicity is absent or severely disrupted, it is not known whether insulin action will lock to the peak, nadir, or mean of the normal periodicity of insulin action.
RESULTS - We used hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps to show a bona fide circadian rhythm of insulin action; mice are most resistant to insulin during their daily phase of relative inactivity. Moreover, clock-disrupted Bmal1-knockout mice are locked into the trough of insulin action and lack rhythmicity in insulin action and activity patterns. When rhythmicity is rescued in the Bmal1-knockout mice by expression of the paralogous gene Bmal2, insulin action and activity patterns are restored. When challenged with a high-fat diet, arhythmic mice (either Bmal1-knockout mice or wild-type mice made arhythmic by exposure to constant light) were obese prone. Adipose tissue explants obtained from high-fat-fed mice have their own periodicity that was longer than animals on a chow diet.
CONCLUSIONS - This study provides rigorous documentation for a circadian rhythm of insulin action and demonstrates that disturbing the natural rhythmicity of insulin action will disrupt the rhythmic internal environment of insulin sensitive tissue, thereby predisposing the animals to insulin resistance and obesity.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Human and rodent studies indicate a role for circadian rhythmicity and associated clock gene expression in supporting normal parturition. The importance of clock gene expression in tissues besides the suprachiasmatic nucleus is emerging. Here, a Bmal1 conditional knockout mouse line and a novel Cre transgenic mouse line were used to examine the role of myometrial Bmal1 in parturition. Ninety-two percent (22/24) of control females but only 64% (14/22) of females with disrupted myometrial Bmal1 completed parturition during the expected time window of 5p.m. on Day 19 through to 9a.m. on Day 19.5 of gestation. However, neither serum progesterone levels nor uterine transcript expression of the contractile-associated proteins Connexin43 and Oxytocin receptor differed between females with disrupted myometrial Bmal1 and controls during late gestation. The data indicate a role for myometrial Bmal1 in maintaining normal time of day of parturition.
Most of the central circadian clock genes in the mouse exist as paralog pairs (Per1 and Per2, Cry1 and Cry2, Clock and Npas2) in which each gene of the pair must be knocked out to confer arrhythmicity. The only exception to this pattern is Bmal1 (also known as Mop3), the single knockout of which confers arrhythmicity, despite the presence of its paralog, Bmal2 (also known as Mop9). The knockout of Bmal1 also has significant effects on longevity, metabolism, etc. These results have led to the conclusion that Bmal1 is a singularly essential clock gene and that Bmal2 has a minimal role in the clock system. In contrast, we find that expression of Bmal2 from a constitutively expressed promoter can rescue the clock and metabolic phenotypes of Bmal1-knockout mice, including rhythmic locomotor activity, rhythmic metabolism, low body weight, and enhanced fat deposition. Combined with the data of Bunger and colleagues, who reported that knockout of Bmal1 downregulates Bmal2, we conclude that Bmal1 and Bmal2 form a circadian paralog pair that is functionally redundant and that, in the mouse, Bmal2 is regulated by Bmal1 such that knockout of Bmal1 alone results in a functionally double Bmal1 and Bmal2 knockout. Therefore, the role(s) of Bmal2 may be more important than has been appreciated heretofore.
Copyright 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Entrainment of anticipatory activity and wakefulness to nutrient availability is a poorly understood component of energy homeostasis. Restricted feeding (RF) paradigms with a periodicity of 24 h rapidly induce entrainment of rhythms anticipating food presentation that are independent of master clocks in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) but do require other hypothalamic structures. Here, we report that the melanocortin system, which resides in hypothalamic structures required for food entrainment, is required for expression of food entrainable rhythms. Food anticipatory activity was assessed in wild-type (WT) and melanocortin-3 receptor-deficient (Mc3r-/-) C57BL/J mice by wheel running, spontaneous locomotory movement, and measurement of wakefulness. WT mice housed in wheel cages subject to RF exhibited increased wheel activity during the 2 h preceding meal presentation, which corresponded with an increase in wakefulness around meal time and reduced wakefulness during the dark. WT mice also exhibited increased x- and z-movements centered around food initiation. The activity-based responses to RF were significantly impaired in mice lacking Mc3r. RF also failed to increase wakefulness in the 2 h before food presentation in Mc3r-/- mice. Food entrainment requires expression of Neuronal PAS domain 2 (Npas2) and Period2 (Per2) genes, components of the transcriptional machinery maintaining a clock rhythm. Analysis of cortical gene expression revealed severe abnormalities in rhythmic expression of clock genes (Bmal1, Npas2, Per2) under ad libitum and RF conditions. In summary, Mc3r are required for expression of anticipatory patterns of activity and wakefulness during periods of limited nutrient availability and for normal regulation of cortical clock function.
The daily biological clock regulates the timing of sleep and physiological processes that are of fundamental importance to human health, performance, and well-being. Environmental parameters of relevance to biological clocks include (1) daily fluctuations in light intensity and temperature, and (2) seasonal changes in photoperiod (day length) and temperature; these parameters vary dramatically as a function of latitude and locale. In wide-ranging species other than humans, natural selection has genetically optimized adaptiveness along latitudinal clines. Is there evidence for selection of clock gene alleles along latitudinal/photoperiod clines in humans? A number of polymorphisms in the human clock genes Per2, Per3, Clock, and AANAT have been reported as alleles that could be subject to selection. In addition, this investigation discovered several novel polymorphisms in the human Arntl and Arntl2 genes that may have functional impact upon the expression of these clock transcriptional factors. The frequency distribution of these clock gene polymorphisms is reported for diverse populations of African Americans, European Americans, Ghanaians, Han Chinese, and Papua New Guineans (including 5 subpopulations within Papua New Guinea). There are significant differences in the frequency distribution of clock gene alleles among these populations. Population genetic analyses indicate that these differences are likely to arise from genetic drift rather than from natural selection.
BACKGROUND - 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.
RESULTS - 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.
CONCLUSIONS - 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.
Circadian variation in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) production likely contributes to increased risk of myocardial infarction and decreased efficacy of thrombolytic therapy during the morning. In this study, we characterize the abilities of fundamental molecular components of intrinsic circadian clocks to regulate the human PAI-1 promoter in transfected endothelial cells. Both CLOCK:BMAL1 and CLOCK:BMAL2 heterodimers activate the PAI-1 promoter through requisite proximal (-565 to -560 bp) and distal (-680 to -675 bp) E-box enhancers. Although the distal E-box overlaps the 4G/5G polymorphism of the PAI-1 promoter, allelic variation at this site does not influence CLOCK:BMAL1-and CLOCK:BMAL2-mediated transactivation. Together, CLOCK:BMAL1 and CLOCK:BMAL2 make additive contributions to PAI-1 gene transcription. While the abilities of these heterodimers to activate gene expression differ by twofold, the susceptibilities of these circadian activators to inhibition by period and cryptochrome proteins are equivalent and redox independent. Given that BMAL1 and BMAL2 differ in their spatiotemporal distributions, such distinctions may allow intrinsic circadian clocks to modulate the amplitudes of their oscillators, while maintaining circadian periodicity. In this way, fundamental circadian clock components may drive circadian variation in PAI-1, which in turn influences the pathogenesis, timing, and treatment of acute atherothrombotic events.
The BMAL2 gene encodes a member of the basic helix-loop-helix PER-ARNT-SIM family of transcription factors, which control diverse physiological processes including circadian rhythms. We identified four novel human BMAL2 transcripts that differ by alternative splicing within their NH2-terminal regions. Divergent expression of these and previously reported transcripts was observed among human tissues. The functional consequences of alternative splicing for transcriptional activation by CLOCK:BMAL2 heterodimers were assessed using luciferase reporter gene constructs that contained one of three diurnally regulated promoters, namely, those of the mouse period1, mouse vasopressin, and human plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 genes. These studies revealed that alternative splicing generates BMAL2 isoforms possessing high, medium, low, or no transcriptional activity. Similar results were obtained with each promoter, suggesting that alternative splicing may influence the amplitudes of both central and peripheral oscillators. Indeed, alternative splicing of BMAL2 may provide tissues with a rheostat capable of regulating CLOCK:BMAL2 heterodimer function across a broad continuum of potential transcriptional activities to accommodate varied metabolic demands and physiological roles.