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Neuroscience. 1999 Mar;89(2):387-97.

Expression of basic helix-loop-helix/PAS genes in the mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus.

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Laboratory of Developmental Chronobiology, Pediatric Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


The suprachiasmatic nuclei contain a circadian clock that drives rhythmicity in physiology and behavior. In mice, mutation of the Clock gene produces abnormal circadian behavior [Vitaterna M. H. et al. (1994) Science 264, 715-725]. The Clock gene encodes a protein containing basic helix-loop-helix and PAS (PER-ARNT-SIM) domains [King D. P. et al. (1997) Cell 89, 641-653]. The PAS domain may be an important structural feature of a subset of genes involved in photoreception and circadian rhythmicity. The expression and regulation of messenger RNAs encoding eight members of the basic helix-loop-helix/PAS protein superfamily were examined by in situ hybridization. Six of the genes studied (aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear transporter, aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear transporter-2, Clock, endothelial PAS-containing protein, hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha and steroid receptor coactivator-1) were expressed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of adult and neonatal mice. No evidence for rhythmicity of expression was observed when comparing brains collected early in the subjective day (circadian time 3) with those collected early in subjective night (circadian time 15). Neuronal PAS-containing protein-1 messenger RNA was expressed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of adult (but not neonatal) mice, and a low-amplitude rhythm of neuronal PAS-containing protein-1 gene expression was detected in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Neuronal PAS-containing protein-2 messenger RNA was not detected in adult or neonatal suprachiasmatic nucleus. Exposure to light at night (30 or 180 min of light, beginning at circadian time 15) did not alter the expression of any of the genes studied. The expression of multiple members of the basic helix-loop-helix/PAS family in the suprachiasmatic nucleus suggests a rich array of potential interactions relevant to the regulation of the suprachiasmatic circadian clock.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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