Distinct roles of DBHS family members in the circadian transcriptional feedback loop

Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Nov;32(22):4585-94. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00334-12. Epub 2012 Sep 10.


Factors interacting with core circadian clock components are essential to achieve transcriptional feedback necessary for metazoan clocks. Here, we show that all three members of the Drosophila behavior human splicing (DBHS) family of RNA-binding proteins play a role in the mammalian circadian oscillator, abrogating or altering clock function when overexpressed or depleted in cells. Although these proteins are members of so-called nuclear paraspeckles, depletion of paraspeckles themselves via silencing of the structural noncoding RNA (ncRNA) Neat1 did not affect overall clock function, suggesting that paraspeckles are not required for DBHS-mediated circadian effects. Instead, we show that the proteins bound to circadian promoter DNA in a fashion that required the PERIOD (PER) proteins and potently repressed E-box-mediated transcription but not cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter-mediated transcription when they were exogenously recruited. Nevertheless, mice with one or both copies of these genes deleted show only small changes in period length or clock gene expression in vivo. Data from transient transfections show that each of these proteins can either repress or activate, depending on the context. Taken together, our data suggest that all of the DBHS family members serve overlapping or redundant roles as transcriptional cofactors at circadian clock-regulated genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ARNTL Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • ARNTL Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Animals
  • CLOCK Proteins / genetics*
  • CLOCK Proteins / metabolism
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics*
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Cytomegalovirus / genetics
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics*
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA Splicing
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • ARNTL Transcription Factors
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • CLOCK Proteins