molecular clock components in the neocortex and cerebellar cortex
The circadian timekeeper of the mammalian brain resides in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus (SCN), and is characterized by rhythmic expression of a set of clock genes with specific 24-h daily profiles. An increasing amount of data suggests that additional circadian oscillators residing outside the SCN have the capacity to generate peripheral circadian rhythms. We have recently shown the presence of SCN-controlled oscillators in the neocortex and cerebellum of the rat. The function of these peripheral brain clocks is unknown, and elucidating this could involve mice with conditional cell-specific clock gene deletions. This prompted us to analyze the molecular clockwork of the mouse neocortex and cerebellum in detail. Here, by use of in situ hybridization and quantitative RT-PCR, we show that clock genes are expressed in all six layers of the neocortex and the Purkinje and granular cell layers of the cerebellar cortex of the mouse brain. Among these, Per1, Per2, Cry1, Arntl, and Nr1d1 exhibit circadian rhythms suggesting that local running circadian oscillators reside within neurons of the mouse neocortex and cerebellar cortex. The temporal expression profiles of clock genes are similar in the neocortex and cerebellum, but they are delayed by 5 h as compared to the SCN, suggestively reflecting a master-slave relationship between the SCN and extra-hypothalamic oscillators. Furthermore, ARNTL protein products are detectable in neurons of the mouse neocortex and cerebellum, as revealed by immunohistochemistry. These findings give reason to further pursue the physiological significance of circadian oscillators in the mouse neocortex and cerebellum.
Cell and Tissue Research, 2014, Vol 357, Issue 3, p. 743-755