Circadian rhythms are driven by circadian oscillators, and these rhythms result in the biological phenomenon of 24-h oscillations. Previous studies suggest that learning and memory are affected by circadian rhythms. One of the genes responsible for generating the circadian rhythm is Rev-erbα. The REV-ERBα protein is a nuclear receptor that acts as a transcriptional repressor, and is a core component of the circadian clock. However, the role of REV-ERBα in neurophysiological processes in the hippocampus has not been characterized yet. In this study, we examined the time-dependent role of REV-ERBα in hippocampal synaptic plasticity using Rev-erbα KO mice. The KO mice lacking REV-ERBα displayed abnormal NMDAR-dependent synaptic potentiation (E-LTP) at CT12~CT14 (subjective night) when compared to their wild-type littermates. However, Rev-erbα KO mice exhibited normal E-LTP at CT0~CT2 (subjective day). We also found that the Rev-erbα KO mice had intact late LTP (L-LTP) at both subjective day and night. Taken together, these results provide evidence that REV-ERBα is critical for hippocampal E-LTP during the dark period.
Keywords: Circadian clock system; Circadian rhythm; Long-term potentiation; Neuronal plasticity.