The mammalian circadian clock is thought to arise from the interactions of around 20 transcription factors with specific DNA sequences associated with morning, day, and night expression. Existing models of this genetic network can readily explain the basis for the day and night activities, but the mechanism underlying morning expression remains incompletely understood.
It is thought that delayed negative feedback exerted by the morning (E/E? box) inhibitor Cryptochrome 1 (Cry1), which is itself expressed in evening, plays an important role in keeping the biological clock on time. But just how it achieves this effect is unknown.
Maki Ukai-Tadenuma and Rikuhiro G. Yamada of the Laboratory for Systems Biology (Hiroki R. Ueda, Project Leader), along with colleagues in the Universities of Memphis (USA) and Fribourg (Switzerland), now report how delayed feedback repression is a key factor in mammalian clock function. Published in Cell, this work shows the role of Cry1 as mediator of delayed negative feedback repression and fleshes out the current understanding of the circadian circuitry.
The team began by looking into the basis for the evening expression of Cry1 using reporter genes coding for the luciferase protein to detect transcriptional activity, and found that the Cry1 promoter region induces the expression of genes carrying the daytime expression motif. A closer look at Cry1’s DNA revealed that its intronic region contains a separate sequence that induces nighttime clock genes. They next stitched together a construct including these promoter and intron regions, and ran another reporter assay to observe its behavior, and found that its expression switched on in circadian evening, suggesting that this in-between expression time is a result of the combination of day and night regulatory elements. To test this model, the team tried to rescue clock function in cells with homozygous deletions of both Cry1 and Cry2 by inducing the evening expression of exogenous Cry1. They found that while the Cry1 promoter region alone was ineffective, when the promoter and intron regions were used in conjunction, the gene’s circadian rhythmicity was restored.
Using this same set-up, Ukai-Tadenuma and Yamada next tried changing the onset time of Cry1 expression, and found that as expression neared midday, meaning that the normal phase delay was reduced, the amplitude of circadian oscillations grew smaller, in line with predictions. Similarly, prolonging the delay of exogenous Cry1 expression caused an increase in the length of the restored cycle.
The team's findings were recapitulated by a relatively simple phase vector model, which not only successfully reproduces the findings from the current study, but numerous other aspects of the circadian clock network as well.
"In 1990, Paul Hardin at Texas A&M pointed out the importance of delayed feedback repression in biological clocks, but it has taken 21 years to work out the mechanism behind it," says Ueda. "We will continue exploring whether the current minimal transcriptional network model is complete, or whether new regulatory systems remain to be discovered."[ Contact ]
Scientists uncover the role of a protein in production & survival of myelin-forming cells
19.07.2018 | Advanced Science Research Center, GC/CUNY
NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation
A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.
The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.07.2018 | Information Technology
20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences