Oscillation and light induction of timeless mRNA in the mammalian circadian clock.

S. A. Tischkau, J. A. Barnes, F. J. Lin, E. M. Myers, J. W. Barnes, E. L. Meyer-Bernstein, W. J. Hurst, P. W. Burgoon, D. Chen, A. Sehgal, M. U. Gillette

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Circadian rhythms in Drosophila melanogaster depend on a molecular feedback loop generated by oscillating products of the period (per) and timeless (tim) genes. In mammals, three per homologs are cyclically expressed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), site of the circadian clock, and two of these, mPer1 and mPer2, are induced in response to light. Although this light response distinguishes the mammalian clock from its Drosophila counterpart, overall regulation, including homologous transcriptional activators, appears to be similar. Thus, the basic mechanisms used to generate circadian timing have been conserved. However, contrary to expectations, the recently isolated mammalian tim homolog was reported not to cycle. In this study, we examined mRNA levels of the same tim homolog using a different probe. We observed a significant (approximately threefold) diurnal variation in mTim expression within mouse SCN using two independent methods. Peak levels were evident at the day-to-night transition in light-entrained animals, and the oscillation persisted on the second day in constant conditions. Furthermore, light pulses known to induce phase delays caused significant elevation in mTim mRNA. In contrast, phase-advancing light pulses did not affect mTim levels. The mTim expression profile and the response to nocturnal light are similar to mPer2 and are delayed compared with mPer1. We conclude that temporal ordering of mTim and mPer2 parallels that of their fly homologs. We predict that mTIM may be the preferred functional partner for mPER2 and that expression of mTim and mPer2 may, in fact, be driven by mPER1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)RC15
JournalThe Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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