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J Circadian Rhythms. 2011 Dec 30;9(1):12. doi: 10.1186/1740-3391-9-12.

Magel2, a Prader-Willi syndrome candidate gene, modulates the activities of circadian rhythm proteins in cultured cells.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB Canada T6G 2H7.



The Magel2 gene is most highly expressed in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, where its expression cycles in a circadian pattern comparable to that of clock-controlled genes. Mice lacking the Magel2 gene have hypothalamic dysfunction, including circadian defects that include reduced and fragmented total activity, excessive activity during the subjective day, but they have a normal circadian period. Magel2 is a member of the MAGE family of proteins that have various roles in cellular function, but the specific function of Magel2 is unknown.


We used a variety of cell-based assays to determine whether Magel2 modifies the properties of core circadian rhythm proteins.


Magel2 represses the activity of the Clock:Bmal1 heterodimer in a Per2-luciferase assay. Magel2 interacts with Bmal1 and with Per2 as measured by co-immunoprecipitation in co-transfected cells, and exhibits a subcellular distribution consistent with these interactions when visualized by immunofluorescence. As well, Magel2 induces the redistribution of the subcellular localization of Clock towards the cytoplasm, in contrast to the nucleus-directed effect of Bmal1 on Clock subcellular localization.


Consistent with the blunted circadian rhythm observed in Magel2-null mice, these data suggest that Magel2 normally promotes negative feedback regulation of the cellular circadian cycle, through interactions with key core circadian rhythm proteins.

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