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Neuroscience. 2004;127(4):989-99.

Effects of altered Clock gene expression on the pacemaker properties of SCN2.2 cells and oscillatory properties of NIH/3T3 cells.

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Department of Human Anatomy and Medical Neurobiology, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College of Medicine, College Station, TX 77843-1114, USA.


While peripheral tissues and serum-shocked fibroblasts express rhythmic oscillations in clock gene expression, only the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is capable of endogenous, self-sustained rhythmicity and of functioning as a pacemaker by imposing rhythmic properties upon other cells. To differentially examine the molecular elements necessary for the distinctive rhythm-generating and pacemaking properties of the SCN, the effects of antisense inhibition of Clock expression on the rhythms in 2-deoxyglucose uptake and Per gene expression were compared in immortalized SCN cells and a fibroblast cell line. Similar to changes in molecular and physiological rhythmicity observed in the SCN of Clock mutant mice, the rhythmic pattern of Per2 expression was disrupted and the period of metabolic rhythmicity was increased in SCN2.2 cells subjected to antisense inhibition of Clock. NIH/3T3 fibroblasts cocultured with antisense-treated SCN2.2 cells showed metabolic rhythms with comparable increases in period and decreases in rhythm amplitude. Per2 expression in these cocultured fibroblasts exhibited a similar reduction in peak levels, but was marked by non-24 h or irregular peak-to-peak intervals. In serum-shocked NIH/3T3 fibroblasts, oscillations in Per2, Bmal1, and Cry1 expression persisted with some change in rhythm amplitude during antisense inhibition of CLOCK, demonstrating that feedback interactions between Clock and other core components of the clock mechanism may be regulated differently in SCN2.2 cells and fibroblasts. The present results suggest that CLOCK is differentially involved in the generation of endogenous molecular and metabolic rhythmicity within SCN2.2 cells and in the regulation of their specific outputs that control rhythmic processes in NIH/3T3 cells.

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