bims-ciryme Biomed News
on Circadian rhythms and metabolism
Issue of 2020‒10‒11
four papers selected by
Gabriela Da Silva Xavier
University of Birmingham

  1. PLoS Genet. 2020 Oct 08. 16(10): e1009097
      Across taxa, circadian control of physiology and behavior arises from cell-autonomous oscillations in gene expression, governed by a networks of so-called 'clock genes', collectively forming transcription-translation feedback loops. In modern vertebrates, these networks contain multiple copies of clock gene family members, which arose through whole genome duplication (WGD) events during evolutionary history. It remains unclear to what extent multiple copies of clock gene family members are functionally redundant or have allowed for functional diversification. We addressed this problem through an analysis of clock gene expression in the Atlantic salmon, a representative of the salmonids, a group which has undergone at least 4 rounds of WGD since the base of the vertebrate lineage, giving an unusually large complement of clock genes. By comparing expression patterns across multiple tissues, and during development, we present evidence for gene- and tissue-specific divergence in expression patterns, consistent with functional diversification of clock gene duplicates. In contrast to mammals, we found no evidence for coupling between cortisol and circadian gene expression, but cortisol mediated non-circadian regulated expression of a subset of clock genes in the salmon gill was evident. This regulation is linked to changes in gill function necessary for the transition from fresh- to sea-water in anadromous fish. Overall, this analysis emphasises the potential for a richly diversified clock gene network to serve a mixture of circadian and non-circadian functions in vertebrate groups with complex genomes.
  2. J Biol Chem. 2020 Oct 07. pii: jbc.RA120.014333. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mammalian circadian clocks are driven by transcription/translation feedback loops composed of positive transcriptional activators (BMAL1 and CLOCK) and negative repressors (CRYPTOCHROMEs (CRYs) and PERIODs (PERs)). CRYs, in complex with PERs, bind to the BMAL1/CLOCK complex and repress E-box driven transcription of clock associated genes. There are two individual CRYs, with CRY1 exhibiting higher affinity to the BMAL1/CLOCK complex than CRY2. It is known that this differential binding is regulated by a dynamic serine-rich loop adjacent to the secondary pocket of both CRYs, but the underlying features controlling loop dynamics are not known. Here we report that allosteric regulation of the serine-rich loop is mediated by Arg293 of CRY1, identified as a rare CRY1 SNPs in the Ensembl and 1000 Genomes databases. The p.Arg293His CRY1 variant caused a shortened circadian period in a Cry1-/-Cry2-/- double knockout mouse embryonic fibroblast cell line. Moreover, the variant displayed reduced repressor activity on BMAL1/CLOCK driven transcription, which is explained by reduced affinity to BMAL1/CLOCK in the absence of PER2 compared to wild type CRY1. Molecular dynamics simulations revealed that the p.Arg293His CRY1 variant altered a communication pathway between Arg293 and the serine loop, by reducing its dynamicity. Collectively, this study provides direct evidence that allosterism in CRY1 is critical for the regulation of circadian rhythm.
    Keywords:  allosteric regulation; circadian rhythm; clock gene; cryptochrome; gene regulation
  3. EMBO J. 2020 Oct 09. e105604
      Cooling patients to sub-physiological temperatures is an integral part of modern medicine. We show that cold exposure induces temperature-specific changes to the higher-order chromatin and gene expression profiles of human cells. These changes are particularly dramatic at 18°C, a temperature synonymous with that experienced by patients undergoing controlled deep hypothermia during surgery. Cells exposed to 18°C exhibit largely nuclear-restricted transcriptome changes. These include the nuclear accumulation of mRNAs encoding components of the negative limbs of the core circadian clock, most notably REV-ERBα. This response is accompanied by compaction of higher-order chromatin and hindrance of mRNPs from engaging nuclear pores. Rewarming reverses chromatin compaction and releases the transcripts into the cytoplasm, triggering a pulse of negative limb gene proteins that reset the circadian clock. We show that cold-induced upregulation of REV-ERBα is sufficient to trigger this reset. Our findings uncover principles of the cellular cold response that must be considered for current and future applications involving therapeutic deep hypothermia.
    Keywords:  REV-ERBα; chromatin compaction; circadian rhythm; cold stress; nuclear and cytoplasmic transcriptomes