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Nat Commun. 2011;2:327. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1316.

Circadian regulation of intracellular G-protein signalling mediates intercellular synchrony and rhythmicity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus.

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Department of Systems Biology, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Synchronous oscillations of thousands of cellular clocks in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the circadian centre, are coordinated by precisely timed cell-cell communication, the principle of which is largely unknown. Here we show that the amount of RGS16 (regulator of G protein signalling 16), a protein known to inactivate Gαi, increases at a selective circadian time to allow time-dependent activation of intracellular cyclic AMP signalling in the SCN. Gene ablation of Rgs16 leads to the loss of circadian production of cAMP and as a result lengthens circadian period of behavioural rhythm. The temporally precise regulation of the cAMP signal by clock-controlled RGS16 is needed for the dorsomedial SCN to maintain a normal phase-relationship to the ventrolateral SCN. Thus, RGS16-dependent temporal regulation of intracellular G protein signalling coordinates the intercellular synchrony of SCN pacemaker neurons and thereby defines the 24 h rhythm in behaviour.

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