Background: DNA methylation has emerged as an important epigenetic regulator of brain processes, including circadian rhythms. However, how DNA methylation intervenes between environmental signals, such as light entrainment, and the transcriptional and translational molecular mechanisms of the cellular clock is currently unknown. Here, we studied the after-hours mice, which have a point mutation in the Fbxl3 gene and a lengthened circadian period. Methods: In this study, we used a combination of in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro approaches. We measured retinal responses in Afh animals and we have run reduced representation bisulphite sequencing (RRBS), pyrosequencing and gene expression analysis in a variety of brain tissues ex vivo. In vitro, we used primary neuronal cultures combined to micro electrode array (MEA) technology and gene expression. Results: We observed functional impairments in mutant neuronal networks, and a reduction in the retinal responses to light-dependent stimuli. We detected abnormalities in the expression of photoreceptive melanopsin (OPN4). Furthermore, we identified alterations in the DNA methylation pathways throughout the retinohypothalamic tract terminals and links between the transcription factor Rev-Erbα and Fbxl3. Conclusions: The results of this study, primarily represent a contribution towards an understanding of electrophysiological and molecular phenotypic responses to external stimuli in the Afh model. Moreover, as DNA methylation has recently emerged as a new regulator of neuronal networks with important consequences for circadian behaviour, we discuss the impact of the Afh mutation on the epigenetic landscape of circadian biology.

Cell–cell coupling and DNA methylation abnormal phenotypes in the after-hours mice

Tinarelli F.;Ivanova E.;Colombi I.;Barini E.;Balzani E.;Chiappalone M.;Tucci V.
2021

Abstract

Background: DNA methylation has emerged as an important epigenetic regulator of brain processes, including circadian rhythms. However, how DNA methylation intervenes between environmental signals, such as light entrainment, and the transcriptional and translational molecular mechanisms of the cellular clock is currently unknown. Here, we studied the after-hours mice, which have a point mutation in the Fbxl3 gene and a lengthened circadian period. Methods: In this study, we used a combination of in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro approaches. We measured retinal responses in Afh animals and we have run reduced representation bisulphite sequencing (RRBS), pyrosequencing and gene expression analysis in a variety of brain tissues ex vivo. In vitro, we used primary neuronal cultures combined to micro electrode array (MEA) technology and gene expression. Results: We observed functional impairments in mutant neuronal networks, and a reduction in the retinal responses to light-dependent stimuli. We detected abnormalities in the expression of photoreceptive melanopsin (OPN4). Furthermore, we identified alterations in the DNA methylation pathways throughout the retinohypothalamic tract terminals and links between the transcription factor Rev-Erbα and Fbxl3. Conclusions: The results of this study, primarily represent a contribution towards an understanding of electrophysiological and molecular phenotypic responses to external stimuli in the Afh model. Moreover, as DNA methylation has recently emerged as a new regulator of neuronal networks with important consequences for circadian behaviour, we discuss the impact of the Afh mutation on the epigenetic landscape of circadian biology.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11567/1077480
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