Regulation of jun-B messenger RNA and AP-1 activity by light and a circadian clock

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Science  20 Mar 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5051, pp. 1581-1584
DOI: 10.1126/science.1549784


The suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus comprise the primary pacemaker responsible for generation of circadian rhythms in mammals. Light stimuli that synchronize this circadian clock induce expression of the c-fos gene in rodent SCN, which suggests a possible role for Fos in circadian entrainment. Appropriate light stimuli also induce the expression of jun-B messenger RNA in the SCN of golden hamsters but only slightly elevate c-jun messenger RNA levels. In addition, light increases the amount of a protein complex in the SCN that binds specifically to sites on DNA known to mediate regulation by the AP-1 transcription factor. The photic regulation of both jun-B messenger RNA expression and AP-1 binding activity is dependent on circadian phase: only light stimuli that shift behavioral rhythms induce jun-B and AP-1 expression. Thus, light and the circadian pacemaker interact to regulate a specific set of immediate-early genes in the SCN that may participate in entrainment of the circadian clock.

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