Acute induction of Eya3 by late-night light stimulation triggers TSHβ expression in photoperiodism

Curr Biol. 2010 Dec 21;20(24):2199-206. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.11.038. Epub 2010 Dec 2.


Living organisms detect seasonal changes in day length (photoperiod) [1-3] and alter their physiological functions accordingly to fit seasonal environmental changes. TSHβ, induced in the pars tuberalis (PT), plays a key role in the pathway that regulates vertebrate photoperiodism [4, 5]. However, the upstream inducers of TSHβ expression remain unknown. Here we performed genome-wide expression analysis of the PT under chronic short-day and long-day conditions in melatonin-proficient CBA/N mice, in which the photoperiodic TSHβ expression response is preserved [6]. This analysis identified "short-day" and "long-day" genes, including TSHβ, and further predicted the acute induction of long-day genes by late-night light stimulation. We verified this by advancing and extending the light period by 8 hr, which induced TSHβ expression within one day. In the following genome-wide expression analysis under this acute long-day condition, we searched for candidate upstream genes by looking for expression that preceded TSHβ's, and we identified the Eya3 gene. We demonstrated that Eya3 and its partner Six1 synergistically activate TSHβ expression and that this activation is further enhanced by Tef and Hlf. These results elucidate the comprehensive transcriptional photoperiodic response in the PT, revealing the complex regulation of TSHβ expression and unexpectedly rapid response to light changes in the mammalian photoperiodic system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Photoperiod*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Thyrotropin, beta Subunit / genetics
  • Thyrotropin, beta Subunit / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Eya3 protein, mouse
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Six1 protein, mouse
  • Thyrotropin, beta Subunit