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Distinct patterns of Period gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus underlie circadian clock photoentrainment by advances or delays

TitleDistinct patterns of Period gene expression in the suprachiasmatic nucleus underlie circadian clock photoentrainment by advances or delays
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsSchwartz WJ, Tavakoli-Nezhad M, Lambert CM, Weaver DR, de la Iglesia HO

The temporal distribution of behavioral programs throughout the 24-h day, known as temporal niche of a species, is determined by ecological factors that directly affect the adaptive value of the timing of specific behaviors. Temporal niche switching has been described in several species and is likely adaptive in habitats where the daily timing of those factors changes. Benthic species whose habitats span a wide range of water depths are exposed to considerable depth-dependent environmental changes. Temporally scheduled trawl surveys of the Norway lobster, Nephrops norvegicus, reveal that animals emerge from burrows at night on the shallow shelf (10-50 m deep), at crepuscular hours on the lower shelf (50-200 m), and at daytime on the slope (200-400 m). The mechanisms underlying nocturnality/diurnality switches are chiefly unknown, and Nephrops offers a unique model for their study. The depth-dependent decrease in luminance is a likely candidate determining the temporal distribution of behavior. The authors explored this possibility in the laboratory by exposing Nephrops to light:dark (LD) cycles of 470-nm monochromatic lighting that mimic conditions at the 100-m-deep shelf (10 lux) or the 300-m slope (0.1 lux). Two groups of animals were respectively exposed to each light intensity according to the following protocol: an initial 12:12 LD stage followed by constant darkness (DD), followed in turn by a second 12:12 LD stage. Activity at the burrow opening (door-keeping = DK), as well as full emergence (E), was continuously monitored. Under 10-lux LD cycles, most animals showed nocturnal DK activity-with some being crepuscular or diurnal-and all animals showed nocturnal E activity. In contrast, both behaviors were clearly diurnal in animals under 0.1-lux LD cycles. The phase of the nocturnal and diurnal DK rhythms detected respectively at 10 and 0.1 lux upon release into DD revealed that these rhythms are entrained circadian rhythms. The present data indicate that nocturnality/diurnality switches in Nephrops in its natural habitat, evidenced by captures at different depths, are likely determined by light intensity. This temporal niche switching involves different patterns of photic entrainment, leading to bona fide circadian diurnal or nocturnal phenotypes, as well as exogenous masking of behavioral outputs.</p>