Tissue-specific function of Period3 in circadian rhythmicity.


The mammalian circadian system is composed of multiple central and peripheral clocks that are temporally coordinated to synchronize physiology and behavior with environmental cycles. Mammals have three homologs of the circadian Period gene (Per1, 2, 3). While numerous studies have demonstrated that Per1 and Per2 are necessary for molecular timekeeping and light responsiveness in the master circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN), the function of Per3 has been elusive. In the current study, we investigated the role of Per3 in circadian timekeeping in central and peripheral oscillators by analyzing PER2::LUCIFERASE expression in tissues explanted from C57BL/6J wild-type and Per3⁻/⁻ mice. We observed shortening of the periods in some tissues from Per3⁻/⁻ mice compared to wild-types. Importantly, the periods were not altered in other tissues, including the SCN, in Per3⁻/⁻ mice. We also found that Per3-dependent shortening of endogenous periods resulted in advanced phases of those tissues, demonstrating that the in vitro phenotype is also present in vivo. Our data demonstrate that Per3 is important for endogenous timekeeping in specific tissues and those tissue-specific changes in endogenous periods result in internal misalignment of circadian clocks in Per3⁻/⁻ mice. Taken together, our studies demonstrate that Per3 is a key player in the mammalian circadian system.