Transcription factor dynamics and neuroendocrine signalling in the mouse pineal gland: A comparative analysis of melatonin-deficient C57BL mice and melatonin-proficient C3H mice

Charlotte Von Gall, Alfred Lewy, Christof Schomerus, Berthe Vivien-Roels, Paul Pevét, Horst Werner Korf, Jörg H. Stehle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

In rodents, the nocturnal rise and fall of arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase (AANAT) activity controls the rhythmic synthesis of melatonin, the hormone of the pineal gland. This rhythm involves the transcriptional regulation of the AANAT by two norepinephrine (NE)-inducible transcription factors, e.g. the activator pCREB (phosphorylated Ca2+/cAMP-response element binding protein) and the inhibitor ICER (inducible cAMP early repressor). Most inbred mouse strains do not produce melatonin under standard laboratory light/dark conditions. As melatonin-deficient mice are often the founders for transgenic animals used for chronobiological experimentations, molecular components of neuroendocrine signalling in the pineal gland as an integral part of clock entrainment mechanisms have to be deciphered. We therefore compared calcium signalling, transcriptional events and melatonin synthesis in the melatonin-deficient C57BL mouse and the melatonin-proficient C3H mouse. Pineal glands and primary pinealocytes were cultured and stimulated with NE or were collected at various times of the light/dark (LD) cycle. Changes in intracellular calcium concentrations, the phosphorylation of CREB, and ICER protein levels follow similar dynamics in the pineal glands of both mouse strains. pCREB levels are high during the early night and ICER protein shows elevated levels during the late night. In the C57BL pineal gland, a low but significant increase in melatonin synthesis could be observed upon NE stimulation, and, notably, also when animals were exposed to long nights. We conclude that the commonly used C57BL mouse is not completely melatonin-deficient and that this melatonin-deficiency does not affect molecular details involved in regulating transcriptional events of melatonin synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)964-972
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 5 2000

Keywords

  • CAMP-signalling pathway
  • CREB
  • ICER
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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