Photoperiod differentially regulates clock genes' expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of Syrian hamster. Academic Article uri icon


  • The suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) contain the master circadian pacemaker in mammals. Generation and maintenance of circadian oscillations involve clock genes which interact to form transcriptional/translational loops and constitute the molecular basis of the clock. There is some evidence that the SCN clock can integrate variations in day length, i.e. photoperiod. However, the effects of photoperiod on clock-gene expression remain largely unknown. We here report the expression pattern of Period (Per) 1, Per2, Per3, Cryptochrome (Cry) 1, Cry2, Bmal1 and Clock genes in the SCN of Syrian hamsters when kept under long (LP) and short (SP) photoperiods. Our data show that photoperiod differentially affects the expression of all clock genes studied. Among the components of the negative limb of the feedback loop, Per1, Per2, Per3, Cry2 but not Cry1 genes show a shortened duration of their peak expression under SP compared with LP. Moreover, mRNA expression of Per1, Per3 and Cry1 are phase advanced in SP compared with LP. Per3 shows an mRNA peak of higher amplitude under SP conditions whereas Per1 and Per2 peak amplitudes are unaffected by photoperiod changes. Bmal1 expression is phase advanced without a change of duration in SP compared with LP. Furthermore, the expression of Clock is rhythmic under SP whereas no rhythm is observed under LP. These results, which provide further evidence that the core clock mechanisms of the SCN integrate photoperiod, are discussed in the context of the existing molecular model.

published proceedings

  • Neuroscience

author list (cited authors)

  • Tournier, B. B., Menet, J. S., Dardente, H., Poirel, V. J., Malan, A., Masson-Pvet, M., Pvet, P., & Vuillez, P.

citation count

  • 86

complete list of authors

  • Tournier, BB||Menet, JS||Dardente, H||Poirel, VJ||Malan, A||Masson-Pévet, M||Pévet, P||Vuillez, P

publication date

  • January 2003