Mechanisms of Circadian Repression Grant uri icon


  • PROJECT SUMMARYDaily rhythms in animal behavior, physiology and metabolism are driven by cell-autonomous circadian clocksthat are synchronized by environmental cycles, but maintain ~24h rhythms even in their absence. These clockskeep time and control overt rhythms via transcriptional feedback loops. Because clock dysfunction negativelyimpacts human health and well being, it is imperative to define the mechanisms that drive rhythmictranscription. The goal of this proposal is to understand how a critical event controlling rhythmic transcription,i.e. feedback repression, is achieved using two complementary model systems, the monarch butterfly andDrosophila. In animals, two feedback loop paradigms having orthologous components can be discerned: ADrosophila-like (dl) paradigm in which CLOCK (CLK) activates and PERIOD (PER) represses transcription,and a mammal-like paradigm (ml) in which BMAL1 activates and PER-CRYPTOCHROME (PER-CRY)complexes repress transcription. Monarch butterflies possess an ml clock, but unlike mammals, monarchscarry single copies of both circadian activators and repressors, thus making it an attractive model to dissectcircadian mechanisms relevant to mammals. Common features of dl and ml clocks are that PER initiatestranscriptional repression `on-DNA'' by binding CLK complexes present on E-box regulatory elements, and thatthe subsequent removal of repressor-activator complexes from E-boxes initiates an `off-DNA'' repression phasethat is maintained for many hours until activators bind E-boxes to reactivate transcription. How PER initiateson-DNA repression and how off-DNA repression is initiated and maintained remains poorly understood. Ourpreliminary data demonstrate that PER-dependent repression in monarch requires a conserved regionencoded by CLK exon 19 (hereafter e19ar), that Drosophila CLOCKWORK ORANGE (CWO) binds E-boxes inantiphase to CLK-CYC, and that loss of cwo increases trough levels of CLK-CYC binding. Based on publishedand preliminary data, we will pursue two aims to determine 1) how PER initiates on-DNA repression of CLK-BMAL1 and CLK-CYC transcription with a focus on CLKe19ar, and 2) how PER and CWO collaborate tomaintain off-DNA transcriptional repression and promote CLK-CYC/CLK-BMAL1 transcription. Successfulcompletion of these aims will provide mechanistic insight into how circadian repression determines the phase,period and amplitude of transcriptional rhythms. Ultimately, such knowledge may be broadly applied fordiagnosis and treatment of many diseases and ailments associated with clock dysfunction.

date/time interval

  • 2017 - 2021