A Model of the Mammalian Circadian Oscillator Including the REV-ERBα Module

Sabine Becker-Weimann[1] (s.becker-weimann@biologie.hu-berlin.de)
Jana Wolf[1],[2] (j.wolf@biologie.hu-berlin.de)
Achim Kramer[3] (achim.kramer@charite.de)
Hanspeter Herzel[1] (h.herzel@biologie.hu-berlin.de)

[1]Institute for Theoretical Biology, Humboldt-University Berlin, Invalidenstr. 43, Berlin 10115, Germany
[2]Medicines Research Centre, GlaxoSmithKline, Stevenage, UK
[3]Laboratory of Chronobiology, Institute of Medical Immunology (Charité), Humboldt-University Berlin, Hessische Str. 3-4, Berlin 10115, Germany


Many cellular and physiological processes have been shown to display a rhythm of about 24 hours. This so-called circadian rhythm is based on a system of interlocked negative and positive molecular feedback loops. Here we extend a previous model of the circadian oscillator by including REV-ERBα as an additional component. This new model will allow us to investigate the function of an additional negative feedback loop via REV-ERBα. We obtain circadian oscillations with the correct period and phase relations between clock components. Parameter variations that correspond to clock-gene mutations reproduce experimental results: With parameter variations mimicking the Bmal1-/- and the Per2 Brdm1 mutation the oscillations cease to exist. In contrast, the system shows sustained oscillations if we use a parameter set that reflects the Rev-erbα mutation. The model also accounts for the differential effect of the Cry1-/- and Cry2-/- mutations on the circadian period. The simulations of the extended model indicate that the original model is robust with respect to the incorporation of the additional component. Depending on the kinetics of the Per2/Cry transcriptional activation by BMAL1, an increasing BMAL1 expression leads to either an increase or decrease of the clock period. This indicates that overexpression experiments could help to characterize the impact of BMAL1 on Per2/Cry transcription.

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Japanese Society for Bioinformatics