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Cryptochrome 1 as a state variable of the circadian clockwork of the suprachiasmatic nucleus: Evidence from translational switching.

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Polidarova, Lenka 


The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus is the principal clock driving circadian rhythms of physiology and behavior that adapt mammals to environmental cycles. Disruption of SCN-dependent rhythms compromises health, and so understanding SCN time keeping will inform management of diseases associated with modern lifestyles. SCN time keeping is a self-sustaining transcriptional/translational delayed feedback loop (TTFL), whereby negative regulators inhibit their own transcription. Formally, the SCN clock is viewed as a limit-cycle oscillator, the simplest being a trajectory of successive phases that progresses through two-dimensional space defined by two state variables mapped along their respective axes. The TTFL motif is readily compatible with limit-cycle models, and in Neurospora and Drosophila the negative regulators Frequency (FRQ) and Period (Per) have been identified as state variables of their respective TTFLs. The identity of state variables of the SCN oscillator is, however, less clear. Experimental identification of state variables requires reversible and temporally specific control over their abundance. Translational switching (ts) provides this, the expression of a protein of interest relying on the provision of a noncanonical amino acid. We show that the negative regulator Cryptochrome 1 (CRY1) fulfills criteria defining a state variable: ts-CRY1 dose-dependently and reversibly suppresses the baseline, amplitude, and period of SCN rhythms, and its acute withdrawal releases the TTFL to oscillate from a defined phase. Its effect also depends on its temporal pattern of expression, although constitutive ts-CRY1 sustained (albeit less stable) oscillations. We conclude that CRY1 has properties of a state variable, but may operate among several state variables within a multidimensional limit cycle.



feedback, genetic code expansion, noncanonical amino acid, oscillator, transcriptional inhibition, Animals, Circadian Clocks, Circadian Rhythm, Cryptochromes, Drosophila melanogaster, Neurospora, Protein Transport, Suprachiasmatic Nucleus

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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
UKRI | Medical Research Council (MRC) (MC_U105170643)
UKRI | Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (BB/P017347/1)
UKRI | Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) (BB/R016658/1)