Diurnal proteome profile of the mouse cerebral cortex: Conditional deletion of the Bmal1 circadian clock gene elevates astrocyte protein levels and cell abundance in the neocortex and hippocampus

Glia. 2023 Jul 20. doi: 10.1002/glia.24443. Online ahead of print.


Circadian oscillators, defined by cellular 24 h clock gene rhythms, are found throughout the brain. Cerebral cortex-specific conditional knockout of the clock gene Bmal1 (Bmal1 CKO) leads to depressive-like behavior, but the molecular link from clock gene to altered behavior is unknown. Further, diurnal proteomic data on the cerebral cortex are currently unavailable. With the aim of determining the diurnal proteome profile and downstream targets of the cortical circadian clock, we here performed a proteomic analysis of the mouse cerebral cortex. Proteomics identified approximately 2700 proteins in both the neocortex and the hippocampus. In the neocortex, 15 proteins were differentially expressed (>2-fold) between day and night, mainly mitochondrial and neuronal plasticity proteins. Only three hippocampal proteins were differentially expressed, suggesting that daily protein oscillations are more prominent in the neocortex. The number of differentially expressed proteins was reduced in the Bmal1 CKO, suggesting that daily rhythms in the cerebral cortex are primarily driven by local clocks. The proteome of the Bmal1 CKO cerebral cortex was dominated by upregulated proteins expressed in astrocytes, including GFAP (4-fold) and FABP7 (>20-fold), in both the neocortex and hippocampus. These findings were confirmed at the transcript level. Cellular analyses of astrocyte components revealed an increased number of GFAP-positive cells in the Bmal1 CKO cerebral cortex. Further, BMAL1 was found to be expressed in both GFAP- and FABP7-positive astrocytes of control animals. Our data show that Bmal1 is required for proper cellular composition of the cerebral cortex, suggesting that increased cortical astrocyte activity may induce behavioral changes.

PMID:37470358 | DOI:10.1002/glia.24443