Malcolm M. et al. Front Cell Neurosci. 2019
Circadian rhythms are biological variables that oscillate with periods close to 24 h that are generated internally by biological clocks. Depending on the tissue/cell type, about 5-20% of genes are expressed rhythmically. Unexpectedly, the correlation between the oscillations of messengers and the proteins they encode is low. We hypothesize that these discrepancies could be because in certain phases of the circadian cycle some messengers could be translationally silenced and stored. Processing bodies (PBs) are membraneless organelles formed by ribonucleoprotein aggregates located in the cytoplasm. They contain silenced messengers and factors involved in mRNA processing. A previous work showed that the number of cells containing these mRNA granules varies when comparing two time-points in U2OS cell cultures and that these differences disappear when an essential clock gene is silenced. Here we evaluate whether PBs oscillate in Neuro2A cells. We analyzed in cell cultures synchronized with dexamethasone the variations in the number, the signal intensity of the markers used (GE-1/HEDLS and DDX6), and the area of PBs between 8 and 68 h post-synchronization. All three parameters oscillated with periods compatible with a circadian regulated process. The most robust rhythm was the number of PBs. These rhythms could be generated by oscillations in proteins that have been involved in the nucleation of these foci such as LSM1, TTP, and BRF1. The described phenomenon would allow to explain the differences observed in the temporal profiles of some messengers and their proteins and to understand how circadian clocks can control post-transcriptionally cellular functions.
Authors: Malcolm M, Saad L, LG Penazzi, Garbarino Pico-E.