To understand how light might entrain a mammalian circadian clock, we examined the effects of light on mPer1, a sequence homolog of Drosophila per, that exhibits robust rhythmic expression in the SCN. mPer1 is rapidly induced by short duration exposure to light at levels sufficient to reset the clock, and dose-response curves reveal that mPer1/induction shows both reciprocity and a strong correlation with phase shifting of the overt rhythm. Thus, in both the phasing of dark expression and the response to light mPer1 is most similar to the Neurospora clock gene frq. Within the SCN there appears to be localization of the induction phenomenon, consistent with the localization of both light-sensitive and light-insensitive oscillators in this circadian center.
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