Selected papers only [ Show all publications ]
Getting Surprising Answers to Unasked Questions.
Cell, 2017 Jun 15; 169 (7): 1162-1167
Diurnal Oscillations in Liver Mass and Cell Size Accompany Ribosome Assembly Cycles.
Cell, 2017 May 4; 169 (4): 651-663.e14
The liver plays a pivotal role in metabolism and xenobiotic detoxification, processes that must be particularly efficient when animals are active and feed. A major question is how the liver adapts to these diurnal changes in physiology. Here, we show that, in mice, liver mass, hepatocyte size, and protein levels follow a daily rhythm, whose amplitude depends on both feeding-fasting and light-dark cycles. Correlative evidence suggests that the daily oscillation in global protein accumulation depends on a similar fluctuation in ribosome number. Whereas rRNA genes are transcribed at similar rates throughout the day, some newly synthesized rRNAs are polyadenylated and degraded in the nucleus in a robustly diurnal fashion with a phase opposite to that of ribosomal protein synthesis. Based on studies with cultured fibroblasts, we propose that rRNAs not packaged into complete ribosomal subunits are polyadenylated by the poly(A) polymerase PAPD5 and degraded by the nuclear exosome.
Temperature regulates splicing efficiency of the cold-inducible RNA-binding protein gene Cirbp.
Genes Dev, 2016 Sep 1; 30 (17): 2005-2017
In mammals, body temperature fluctuates diurnally around a mean value of 36°C-37°C. Despite the small differences between minimal and maximal values, body temperature rhythms can drive robust cycles in gene expression in cultured cells and, likely, animals. Here we studied the mechanisms responsible for the temperature-dependent expression of cold-inducible RNA-binding protein (CIRBP). In NIH3T3 fibroblasts exposed to simulated mouse body temperature cycles, Cirbp mRNA oscillates about threefold in abundance, as it does in mouse livers. This daily mRNA accumulation cycle is directly controlled by temperature oscillations and does not depend on the cells' circadian clocks. Here we show that the temperature-dependent accumulation of Cirbp mRNA is controlled primarily by the regulation of splicing efficiency, defined as the fraction of Cirbp pre-mRNA processed into mature mRNA. As revealed by genome-wide "approach to steady-state" kinetics, this post-transcriptional mechanism is widespread in the temperature-dependent control of gene expression.
Unbiased identification of signal-activated transcription factors by barcoded synthetic tandem repeat promoter screening (BC-STAR-PROM).
Genes Dev, 2016 Aug 15; 30 (16): 1895-1907
The discovery of transcription factors (TFs) controlling pathways in health and disease is of paramount interest. We designed a widely applicable method, dubbed barcorded synthetic tandem repeat promoter screening (BC-STAR-PROM), to identify signal-activated TFs without any a priori knowledge about their properties. The BC-STAR-PROM library consists of ∼3000 luciferase expression vectors, each harboring a promoter (composed of six tandem repeats of synthetic random DNA) and an associated barcode of 20 base pairs (bp) within the 3' untranslated mRNA region. Together, the promoter sequences encompass >400,000 bp of random DNA, a sequence complexity sufficient to capture most TFs. Cells transfected with the library are exposed to a signal, and the mRNAs that it encodes are counted by next-generation sequencing of the barcodes. This allows the simultaneous activity tracking of each of the ∼3000 synthetic promoters in a single experiment. Here we establish proof of concept for BC-STAR-PROM by applying it to the identification of TFs induced by drugs affecting actin and tubulin cytoskeleton dynamics. BC-STAR-PROM revealed that serum response factor (SRF) is the only immediate early TF induced by both actin polymerization and microtubule depolymerization. Such changes in cytoskeleton dynamics are known to occur during the cell division cycle, and real-time bioluminescence microscopy indeed revealed cell-autonomous SRF-myocardin-related TF (MRTF) activity bouts in proliferating cells.
The systemic control of circadian gene expression.
Diabetes Obes Metab, 2015 Sep; 17 Suppl 1 : 23-32
The mammalian circadian timing system consists of a central pacemaker in the brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and subsidiary oscillators in nearly all body cells. The SCN clock, which is adjusted to geophysical time by the photoperiod, synchronizes peripheral clocks through a wide variety of systemic cues. The latter include signals depending on feeding cycles, glucocorticoid hormones, rhythmic blood-borne signals eliciting daily changes in actin dynamics and serum response factor (SRF) activity, and sensors of body temperature rhythms, such as heat shock transcription factors and the cold-inducible RNA-binding protein CIRP. To study these systemic signalling pathways, we designed and engineered a novel, highly photosensitive apparatus, dubbed RT-Biolumicorder. This device enables us to record circadian luciferase reporter gene expression in the liver and other organs of freely moving mice over months in real time. Owing to the multitude of systemic signalling pathway involved in the phase resetting of peripheral clocks the disruption of any particular one has only minor effects on the steady state phase of circadian gene expression in organs such as the liver. Nonetheless, the implication of specific pathways in the synchronization of clock gene expression can readily be assessed by monitoring the phase-shifting kinetics using the RT-Biolumicorder.
Circadian timing of metabolism in animal models and humans.
J Intern Med, 2015 May; 277 (5): 513-527
Most living beings, including humans, must adapt to rhythmically occurring daily changes in their environment that are generated by the Earth's rotation. In the course of evolution, these organisms have acquired an internal circadian timing system that can anticipate environmental oscillations and thereby govern their rhythmic physiology in a proactive manner. In mammals, the circadian timing system coordinates virtually all physiological processes encompassing vigilance states, metabolism, endocrine functions and cardiovascular activity. Research performed during the past two decades has established that almost every cell in the body possesses its own circadian timekeeper. The resulting clock network is organized in a hierarchical manner. A master pacemaker, located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, is synchronized every day to the photoperiod. In turn, the SCN determines the phase of the cellular clocks in peripheral organs through a wide variety of signalling pathways dependent on feeding cycles, body temperature rhythms, oscillating bloodborne signals and, in some organs, inputs of the peripheral nervous system. A major purpose of circadian clocks in peripheral tissues is the temporal orchestration of key metabolic processes, including food processing (metabolism and xenobiotic detoxification). Here, we review some recent findings regarding the molecular and cellular composition of the circadian timing system and discuss its implications for the temporal coordination of metabolism in health and disease. We focus primarily on metabolic disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, although circadian misalignments (shiftwork or 'social jet lag') have also been associated with the aetiology of human malignancies.
Circadian rhythms - from genes to physiology and disease.
Swiss Med Wkly, 2014 Jul 24; 144 : w13984
Most physiological processes in our body oscillate in a daily fashion. These include cerebral activity (sleep-wake cycles), metabolism and energy homeostasis, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, renal activity, and hormone as well as cytokine secretion. The daily rhythms in behaviour and physiology are not just acute responses to timing cues provided by the environment, but are driven by an endogenous circadian timing system. A central pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), located in the ventral hypothalamus, coordinates all overt rhythms in our body through neuronal and humoral outputs. The SCN consists of two tiny clusters of ~100,000 neurones in humans, each harbouring a self-sustained, cell-autonomous molecular oscillator. Research conducted during the past years has shown, however, that virtually all of our thirty-five trillion body cells possess their own clocks and that these are indistinguishable from those operative in SCN neurones. Here we give an overview on the molecular and cellular architecture of the mammalian circadian timing system and provide some thoughts on its medical and social impact.
Glucocorticoid rhythm renders female mice more daring.
Cell, 2013 Dec 5; 155 (6): 1211-1212
Glucocorticoids, which have been implied in mood modulation, display robust diurnal oscillations in the blood. But does their circadian rhythm regulate mood swings? Ikeda et al. now identify a paracrine signaling pathway in the adrenal cortex that potentiates the daily amplitude of plasma glucocorticoids and renders female mice braver.
Real-time recording of circadian liver gene expression in freely moving mice reveals the phase-setting behavior of hepatocyte clocks.
Genes Dev, 2013 Jul 1; 27 (13): 1526-1536
The mammalian circadian timing system consists of a master pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the hypothalamus, which is thought to set the phase of slave oscillators in virtually all body cells. However, due to the lack of appropriate in vivo recording technologies, it has been difficult to study how the SCN synchronizes oscillators in peripheral tissues. Here we describe the real-time recording of bioluminescence emitted by hepatocytes expressing circadian luciferase reporter genes in freely moving mice. The technology employs a device dubbed RT-Biolumicorder, which consists of a cylindrical cage with reflecting conical walls that channel photons toward a photomultiplier tube. The monitoring of circadian liver gene expression revealed that hepatocyte oscillators of SCN-lesioned mice synchronized more rapidly to feeding cycles than hepatocyte clocks of intact mice. Hence, the SCN uses signaling pathways that counteract those of feeding rhythms when their phase is in conflict with its own phase.