The molecular biology of circadian rhythms has been extensively studied in mice, and the widespread expression of canonical circadian clock genes in peripheral organs is well established in this species. In contrast, much less information about the peripheral expression of haPer1, haPer2, and haBmal1 is available in Syrian hamsters despite the fact that this species is widely used for studies of circadian organization and photoperiodic responses. Furthermore, examination of oscillating expression of these genes in mouse testis has generated discrepant results, and little is known about gonadal expression of haPer1 and haBmal1 or their environmental control. To address these questions, the authors examined the pattern of haPer1 and haBmal1 in heart, kidney, liver, muscle, spleen, and testis of hamsters exposed to DD. In most organs, Northern blots suggested the existence of single transcripts of each of these messenger RNAs (mRNAs). haPer1 peaked in late subjective day and haBmal1 during the late subjective night. Closer inspection of SCN and muscle haPer1, however, revealed the existence of two major transcripts of similar size, as well as minor transcripts that varied in the 3′-untranslated region. In hamster testis, two haPer1 transcripts were found, both of which are truncated relative to the corresponding mouse transcript and both of which contain a sequence homologous to intron 18 of mPer1. Neither testis transcript contains a nuclear localization signal, and haPer1 transcripts lacked the putative C-terminal CRY1-binding domain. Furthermore, the testis deviated from the general pattern in that haPer1 and haBmal1 both peaked in the subjective night. In situ hybridization revealed that haPer1, but not haBmal1, showed a heterogeneous distribution among seminiferous tubules. Hamster testis also expresses 2 haPer2 transcripts, but no circadian variation is evident. In a second experiment, long-term exposure to DD sufficient to induce gonadal regression was found to eliminate circadian oscillations of both testicular haPer1 transcripts. In contrast, gonadal regression was accompanied by a more robust rhythm of haBmal1.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/eric_bittman/6/