Synchronization of circadian Per2 rhythms and HSF1-BMAL1:CLOCK interaction in mouse fibroblasts after short-term heat shock pulse

PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24521. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024521. Epub 2011 Sep 7.


Circadian rhythms are the general physiological processes of adaptation to daily environmental changes, such as the temperature cycle. A change in temperature is a resetting cue for mammalian circadian oscillators, which are possibly regulated by the heat shock (HS) pathway. The HS response (HSR) is a universal process that provides protection against stressful conditions, which promote protein-denaturation. Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is essential for HSR. In the study presented here, we investigated whether a short-term HS pulse can reset circadian rhythms. Circadian Per2 rhythm and HSF1-mediated gene expression were monitored by a real-time bioluminescence assay for mPer2 promoter-driven luciferase and HS element (HSE; HSF1-binding site)-driven luciferase activity, respectively. By an optimal duration HS pulse (43°C for approximately 30 minutes), circadian Per2 rhythm was observed in the whole mouse fibroblast culture, probably indicating the synchronization of the phases of each cell. This rhythm was preceded by an acute elevation in mPer2 and HSF1-mediated gene expression. Mutations in the two predicted HSE sites adjacent (one of them proximally) to the E-box in the mPer2 promoter dramatically abolished circadian mPer2 rhythm. Circadian Per2 gene/protein expression was not observed in HSF1-deficient cells. These findings demonstrate that HSF1 is essential to the synchronization of circadian rhythms by the HS pulse. Importantly, the interaction between HSF1 and BMAL1:CLOCK heterodimer, a central circadian transcription factor, was observed after the HS pulse. These findings reveal that even a short-term HS pulse can reset circadian rhythms and cause the HSF1-BMAL1:CLOCK interaction, suggesting the pivotal role of crosstalk between the mammalian circadian and HSR systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ARNTL Transcription Factors / genetics
  • ARNTL Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • CLOCK Proteins / genetics
  • CLOCK Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Heat-Shock Response / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Response / physiology
  • Mice
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Binding
  • Temperature
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • ARNTL Transcription Factors
  • Arntl protein, mouse
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Hsf1 protein, mouse
  • Per2 protein, mouse
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • CLOCK Proteins
  • Clock protein, mouse