In birds, independent circadian clocks reside in the retina, pineal, and hypothalamus, which interact with each other and produce circadian time at the functional level. However, less is known of the molecular clockwork, and of the integration between central and peripheral clocks in birds. The present study investigated this, by monitoring the timed expression of five core clock genes (Per2. Cry1. Cry2. Bmal1, and Clock) and one clock-controlled gene (E4bp4) in a night-migratory songbird, the redheaded bunting (rb; Emberiza bruniceps). The authors first partially cloned these six genes, and then measured their 24-h profiles in central (retina, hypothalamus) and peripheral (liver, heart, stomach, gut, testes) tissues, collected at six times (zeitgeber time 2 [ZT2], ZT6, ZT11, ZT13, ZT18, and ZT23; ZT0 = lights on) from birds (n = 5 per ZT) on 12 h:12 h light-dark cycle. rbPer2. rbCry1. rbBmal1, and rbClock were expressed with a significant rhythm in all the tissues, except in the retina (only rbClock) and testes. rbCry2, however, had tissue-specific expression pattern: a significant rhythm in the hypothalamus, heart, and gut, but not in the retina, liver, stomach, and testes. rbE4bp4 had a significant mRNA rhythm in all the tissues, except retina. Further, rbPer2 mRNA peak was phase aligned with lights on, whereas rbCry1. rbBmal1, and rbE4bp4 mRNA peaks were phase aligned with lights off. rbCry2 and rbClock had tissue-specific scattered peaks. For example, both rbCry2 and rbClock peaks were close to rbCry1 and rbBmal1 peaks, respectively, in the hypothalamus, but not in other tissues. The results are consistent with the autoregulatory circadian feedback loop, and indicate a conserved tissue-level circadian time generation in buntings. Variable phase relationships between gene pairs forming positive and negative limbs of the feedback loop may suggest the tissue-specific contribution of individual core circadian genes in the circadian time generation.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call