Mammalian circadian clock genes Per1 and Per2 are rhythmically expressed not only in the suprachiasmatic nucleus where the mammalian circadian clock exists, but also in other brain regions and peripheral tissues. The induced circadian oscillation of Per genes after treatment with high concentrations of serum or various drugs in cultured cells suggests the ubiquitous existence of the oscillatory mechanism. These treatments also result in a rapid surge of expression of Per1. It has been shown that multiple signaling pathways are involved in Per1 gene induction in culture cells. We used a dispersed primary cell culture made up of mouse cerebellar granule cells to examine the stimuli inducing the mPer genes and their signaling pathways in neuronal tissues expressing mPer genes. We demonstrated that mPer1, but not mPer2, mRNA expression was dependent on the depolarization state controlled by extracellular KCl concentration in the granule cell culture. Nifedipine treatment reduced mPer1 induction, suggesting that mPer1 mRNA expression depends on intracellular calcium concentration regulated through a voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel. Transient mPer1 mRNA induction was observed after elevating KCl concentration in the medium from 5 mM to 25 mM. This increased expression was suppressed by a calmodulin antagonist, or CaMKII/IV inhibitor, but not by MEK inhibitors. Addition of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide-38 to the medium also induced transient Per1 gene expression. This induction was mimicked by dibutyryl-cAMP and suppressed by a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, but not by MEK inhibitors. These results suggest that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II/IV- and PKA-dependent pathways are involved in high-KCl and PACAP-induced mPer1 induction, respectively, and neural tissues use multiple signaling pathways for mPer1 induction similar to culture cells.
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