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Curr Biol. 2001 Oct 2;11(19):1524-7.

Visualization of mPer1 transcription in vitro: NMDA induces a rapid phase shift of mPer1 gene in cultured SCN.

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Division of Molecular Brain Science, Department of Brain Sciences, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.


Many physiological and behavioral phenomena are controlled by an internal, self-sustaining oscillator with a periodicity of approximately 24 hr. In mammals, the principal oscillator resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). A light pulse during the subjective night causes a phase shift of the circadian rhythm via direct glutamatergic retinal afferents to the SCN [1]. Along with the accepted theoretical models of the clock, it is suggested that behavioral resetting of mammals is completed within 2 hr [2]; however, the molecular mechanism has not been elucidated. Here, we show the real-time image of the transcription of the circadian-clock gene mPer1 in the cultured SCN by using the transgenic mice that carry a luciferase reporter gene under the control of the mPer1 promoter [3]. The real-time image demonstrates that the mPer1 promoter activity oscillates robustly in a circadian manner and that this promoter activity is reset rapidly (within 2-3 hr) when a phase shift occurs.

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