Photic resetting and entrainment in CLOCK-deficient mice
Department of Neurobiology
Medical Subject Headings
Animals; Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors; CLOCK Proteins; Circadian Rhythm; Female; Male; Mice; Motor Activity; Nerve Tissue Proteins; Photic Stimulation; Photoperiod
Neuroscience and Neurobiology
Mice lacking the CLOCK protein have a relatively subtle circadian phenotype, including a slightly shorter period in constant darkness, differences in phase resetting after 4-hour light pulses in the early and late night, and a variably advanced phase angle of entrainment in a light-dark (LD) cycle. The present series of experiments was conducted to more fully characterize the circadian phenotype of Clock(-/-) mice under various lighting conditions. A phase-response curve (PRC) to 4-hour light pulses in free-running mice was conducted; the results confirm that Clock(-/-) mice exhibit very large phase advances after 4-hour light pulses in the late subjective night but have relatively normal responses to light at other phases. The abnormal shape of the PRC to light may explain the tendency of CLOCK-deficient mice to begin activity before lights-out when housed in a 12-hour light:12-hour dark lighting schedule. To assess this relationship further, Clock(-/-) and wild-type control mice were entrained to skeleton lighting cycles (1L:23D and 1L:10D:1L:12D). Comparing entrainment under the 2 types of skeleton photoperiods revealed that exposure to 1-hour light in the morning leads to a phase advance of activity onset (expressed the following afternoon) in Clock(-/-) mice but not in the controls. Constant light typically causes an intensity-dependent increase in circadian period in mice, but this did not occur in CLOCK-deficient mice. The failure of Clock(-/-) mice to respond to the period-lengthening effect of constant light likely results from the increased functional impact of light falling in the phase advance zone of the PRC. Collectively, these experiments reveal that alterations in the response of CLOCK-deficient mice to light in several paradigms are likely due to an imbalance in the shape of the PRC to light.
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Citation: J Biol Rhythms. 2011 Oct;26(5):390-401. Link to article on publisher's site