Light-dependent and circadian clock-regulated activation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein, X-box-binding protein 1, and heat shock factor pathways

Megumi Hatori, Tsuyoshi Hirota, Michiko Iitsuka, Nobuhiro Kurabayashi, Shogo Haraguchi, Koichi Kokame, Ryuichiro Sato, Akira Nakai, Toshiyuki Miyata, Kazuyoshi Tsutsui, Yoshitaka Fukada

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    43 Citations (Scopus)


    The circadian clock is phase-delayed or -advanced by light when given at early or late subjective night, respectively. Despite the importance of the time-of-day-dependent phase responses to light, the underlying molecular mechanism is poorly understood. Here, we performed a comprehensive analysis of light-inducible genes in the chicken pineal gland, which consists of light-sensitive clock cells representing a prototype of the clock system. Light stimulated expression of 62 genes and 40 ESTs by >2.5-fold, among which genes responsive to the heat shock and endoplasmic reticulum stress as well as their regulatory transcription factors heat shock factor (HSF)1, HSF2, and X-box-binding protein 1 (XBP1) were strongly activated when a light pulse was given at late subjective night. In contrast, the light pulse at early subjective night caused prominent induction of E4bp4, a key regulator in the phase-delaying mechanism of the pineal clock, along with activation of a large group of cholesterol biosynthetic genes that are targets of sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) transcription factor. We found that the light pulse stimulated proteolytic formation of active SREBP-1 that, in turn, transactivated E4bp4 expression, linking SREBP with the light-input pathway of the pineal clock. As an output of light activation of cholesterol biosynthetic genes, we found light-stimulated pineal production of a neurosteroid, 7α-hydroxypregnenolone, demonstrating a unique endocrine function of the pineal gland. Intracerebroventricular injection of 7α-hydroxypregnenolone activated locomotor activities of chicks. Our study on the genome-wide gene expression analysis revealed time-of-day-dependent light activation of signaling pathways and provided molecular connection between gene expression and behavior through neurosteroid release from the pineal gland.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)4864-4869
    Number of pages6
    JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2011 Mar 22

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General

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