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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Apr 18;103(16):6386-91. Epub 2006 Apr 10.

Signaling mediated by the dopamine D2 receptor potentiates circadian regulation by CLOCK:BMAL1.

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Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, 1 Rue Laurent Fries, 67404 Illkirch-Strasbourg, France.


Environmental cues modulate a variety of intracellular pathways whose signaling is integrated by the molecular mechanism that constitutes the circadian clock. Although the essential gears of the circadian machinery have been elucidated, very little is known about the signaling systems regulating it. Here, we report that signaling mediated by the dopamine D2 receptor (D2R) enhances the transcriptional capacity of the CLOCK:BMAL1 complex. This effect involves the mitogen-activated protein kinase transduction cascade and is associated with a D2R-induced increase in the recruiting and phosphorylation of the transcriptional coactivator cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) binding protein. Importantly, CLOCK:BMAL1-dependent activation and light-inducibility of mPer1 gene transcription is drastically dampened in retinas of D2R-null mice. Because dopamine is the major catecholamine in the retina, central for the neural adaptation to light, our findings establish a physiological link among photic input, dopamine signaling, and the molecular clock machinery.

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