Multiple circadian transcriptional elements cooperatively regulate cell-autonomous transcriptional oscillation of Period3, a mammalian clock gene

J Biol Chem. 2017 Sep 29;292(39):16081-16092. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.806836. Epub 2017 Aug 15.


Cell-autonomous oscillation in clock gene expression drives circadian rhythms. The development of comprehensive analytical techniques, such as bioinformatics and ChIP-sequencing, has enabled the genome-wide identification of potential circadian transcriptional elements that regulate the transcriptional oscillation of clock genes. However, detailed analyses using traditional biochemical and molecular-biological approaches, such as binding and reporter assays, are still necessary to determine whether these potential circadian transcriptional elements are actually functional and how significantly they contribute to driving transcriptional oscillation. Here, we focused on the molecular mechanism of transcriptional oscillations in the mammalian clock gene Period3 (Per3). The PER3 protein is essential for robust peripheral clocks and is a key component in circadian output processes. We found three E box-like elements located upstream of human Per3 transcription start sites that additively contributed to cell-autonomous transcriptional oscillation. However, we also found that Per3 is still expressed in a circadian manner when all three E box-like elements are functionally impaired. We noted that Per3 transcription was activated by the synergistic actions of two D box-like elements and the three E box-like elements, leading to a drastic increase in circadian amplitude. Interestingly, circadian expression of Per3 was completely disrupted only when all five transcriptional elements were functionally impaired. These results indicate that three E box-like and two D box-like elements cooperatively and redundantly regulate cell-autonomous transcriptional oscillation of Per3.

Keywords: Period3; circadian clock; circadian rhythm; clock gene; transcription; transcription enhancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 5' Flanking Region*
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mutation
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Period Circadian Proteins / chemistry
  • Period Circadian Proteins / genetics
  • Period Circadian Proteins / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Response Elements*


  • PER3 protein, human
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins