The zebrafish represents a powerful model for exploring how light regulates the circadian clock due to the direct light sensitivity of its peripheral clocks, a property that is retained even in organ cultures as well as zebrafish-derived cell lines. Light-inducible expression of the per2 clock gene has been predicted to play a vital function in relaying light information to the core circadian clock mechanism in many organisms, including zebrafish. To directly test the contribution of per2 to circadian clock function in zebrafish, we have generated a loss-of-function per2 gene mutation. Our results reveal a tissue-specific role for the per2 gene in maintaining rhythmic expression of circadian clock genes, as well as clock-controlled genes, and an impact on the rhythmic behavior of intact zebrafish larvae. Furthermore, we demonstrate that disruption of the per2 gene impacts on the circadian regulation of the cell cycle in vivo. Based on these results, we hypothesize that in addition to serving as a central element of the light input pathway to the circadian clock, per2 acts as circadian regulator of tissue-specific physiological functions in zebrafish.
- cell cycle
- circadian clock