Many biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes such as glucose metabolism, body temperature, and sleep-wake cycles show regular daily rhythms. These circadian rhythms are adjusted to the environmental light-dark cycle by a central pacemaker located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in order for the processes to occur at appropriate times of day. Here, we investigated the expression and function of a synaptic organizing protein, C1QL3, in the SCN. We found that C1ql3 is robustly expressed in the SCN. C1ql3 knockout mice have a reduced density of excitatory synapses in the SCN. In addition, these mice exhibited less consolidated activity to the active portions of the day and period lengthening following a 15-minute phase-delaying light pulse. These data identify C1QL3 as a signaling molecule that is highly expressed in SCN neurons, where it contributes to the formation and/or maintenance of glutamatergic synapses and plays a role in circadian behaviors, which may include circadian aftereffects.
Keywords: C1q-like; C1ql; C1ql3; SCN; aftereffects; circadian; rhythms; suprachiasmatic nucleus; synapse.