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Breit, Andreas; Miek, Laura; Schredelseker, Johann; Geibel, Mirjam; Merrow, Martha; Gudermann, Thomas (2018): Insulin-like growth factor-1 acts as a zeitgeber on hypothalamic circadian clock gene expression via glycogen synthase kinase-3 signaling. In: Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 293, No. 44: pp. 17278-17290
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Abstract

Brain and muscle ARNT-like protein-1 (BMAL-1) is an important component of the cellular circadian clock. Proteins such as epidermal (EGF) or nerve growth factor (NGF) affect the cellular clock via extracellular signal-regulated kinases-1/2 (ERK-1/2) in NIH3T3 or neuronal stem cells, but no such data are available for the insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). The hypothalamus expresses receptors for all three growth factors, acts as a central circadian pacemaker, and releases hormones in a circadian fashion. However, little is known about growth factor-induced modulation of clock gene activity in hypothalamic cells. Here, we investigated effects of IGF-1, EGF, or NGF on the Bmal-1 promoter in two hypothalamic cell lines. We found that only IGF-1 but not EGF or NGF enhanced activity of the Bmal-1 promoter. Inhibition of ERK-1/2 activity did not affect IGF-1-induced Bmal-1 promoter activation and all three growth factors similarly phosphorylated ERK-1/2, questioning a role for ERK-1/2 in controlling BMAL-1 promoter activity. Of note, only IGF-1 induced sustained phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3). Moreover, the GSK-3 inhibitor lithium or siRNA-mediated GSK-3 knockdown diminished the effects of IGF-1 on the Bmal-1 promoter. When IGF-1 was used in the context of temperature cycles entraining hypothalamic clock gene expression to a 24-h rhythm, it shifted the phase of Bmal-1 promoter activity, indicating that IGF-1 functions as a zeitgeber for cellular hypothalamic circadian clocks. Our results reveal that IGF-1 regulates clock gene expression and that GSK-3 but not ERK-1/2 is required for the IGF-1-mediated regulation of the Bmal-1 promoter in hypothalamic cells.