bims-ciryme Biomed News
on Circadian rhythms and metabolism
Issue of 2022‒03‒13
two papers selected by
Gabriela Da Silva Xavier
University of Birmingham

  1. Front Neurosci. 2021 ;15 808754
      Sleep and wakefulness are regulated by both the homeostatic mechanism and circadian clock. In mammals, the central circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus, in the hypothalamus plays a crucial role in the timing of physiology and behavior. Recently, we found that the circadian regulation of wakefulness was transmitted via corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) neurons in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus to orexin neurons in the lateral hypothalamus. However, it is still unclear how the molecular clock in the CRF neurons contributes to the regulation of sleep and wakefulness. In the present study, we established CRF neuron-specific Bmal1-deficient mice and measured locomotor activity or electroencephalography and electromyography. We found that these mice showed normal circadian locomotor activity rhythms in both light-dark cycle and constant darkness. Furthermore, they showed normal daily patterns of sleep and wakefulness. These results suggest that Bmal1 in CRF neurons has no effect on either circadian locomotor activity or sleep and wakefulness.
    Keywords:  Bmal1; CRF neurons; circadian rhythm; locomotor activity; sleep
  2. Front Physiol. 2022 ;13 781380
      Cryptochrome (CRY) is a conserved protein associated with the circadian clock in a broad range of organisms, including plants, insects, and mammals. In Drosophila, cry is a pleiotropic gene that encodes a blue light-dedicated circadian photoreceptor, as well as an electromagnetic field sensor and a geotaxis behavior regulator. We have generated a panel of nearly-isogenic strains that originated from various wild populations and which carry different natural alleles of cry. Sequencing of these alleles revealed substantial polymorphism, the functional role of which was elusive. To link this natural molecular diversity to gene function, we relied on association mapping. Such analysis revealed two major haplogroups consisting of six linked nucleotides associated with circadian phase (haplotypes All1/All2). We also generated a maximum-likelihood gene-tree that uncovered an additional pair of haplogroups (B1/B2). Behavioral analysis of the different haplotypes indicated significant effect on circadian phase and period, as well on the amount of activity and sleep. The data also suggested substantial epistasis between the All and B haplogroups. Intriguingly, circadian photosensitivity, assessed by light-pulse experiments, did not differ between the genotypes. Using CRISPR-mediated transgenic flies, we verified the effect of B1/B2 polymorphism on circadian phase. The transgenic flies also exhibited substantially different levels of cry transcription. We, moreover, analyzed the geographical distribution of the B1/B2 haplotypes, focusing on a 12 bp insertion/deletion polymorphism that differentiates the two haplotypes. Analysis of cry sequences in wild populations across Europe revealed a geographical cline of B1/B2 indel frequency, which correlated with seasonal bioclimatic variables. This spatial distribution of cry polymorphism reinforces the functional importance of these haplotypes in the circadian system and local adaptation.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; association mapping; circadian clock; cryptochrome; genetic cline; genetic variation; molecular polymorphism