Circadian expression and specific localization of a sialyltransferase gene in the suprachiasmatic nucleus

Neurosci Lett. 2013 Feb 22;535:12-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.12.032. Epub 2013 Jan 5.


Polysialic acids are implicated in various biological processes such as neural cell migration, axonal growth, synaptogenesis and resetting of the circadian rhythm. Recently, polysialation has been reported to be involved in the formation and resetting of the circadian clock. However, the genes that control the circadian rhythm of polysialation have not been elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the expression profile of ST8 alpha-N-acetyl-neuraminide alpha-2,8-sialyltransferase 6 (ST8Sia VI) in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is one of the modification transferases that add sialic acids to type O carbohydrate chains. ST8Sia VI mRNA showed strong expression in the SCN with dynamic circadian rhythm. Further, the amount of ST8Sia VI mRNA in the SCN was increased by brief light exposure. Interestingly, the localization of ST8Sia VI mRNA in the SCN differs from those of arginine vasopressin and vasoactive intestinal peptide mRNAs, which are typical SCN subregion markers showing shell and core, dorsomedial and ventrolateral, or light-responsive and unresponsive regions, respectively. The present findings suggest that ST8siVI is involved in rhythmic polysialation in the SCN and that ST8siVI expression provides a novel compartmentation of the mammalian circadian center.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Light
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sialyltransferases / genetics
  • Sialyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / enzymology*
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus / radiation effects


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Sialyltransferases
  • alpha-N-acetylneuraminate alpha-2,8-sialyltransferase