Neuropsin (OPN5) Mediates Local Light-Dependent Induction of Circadian Clock Genes and Circadian Photoentrainment in Exposed Murine Skin

Oct 21, 2019 | Scientific Publication

 Here, we assess the function of a population of melanocyte precursor cells in hair and vibrissal follicles that express the photopigment neuropsin (OPN5). Organotypic cultures of murine outer ear and vibrissal skin entrain to a light-dark cycle ex vivo, requiring cis-retinal chromophore and Opn5 gene function. Short-wavelength light strongly phase shifts skin circadian rhythms ex vivo via an Opn5-dependent mechanism. In vivo, the normal amplitude of Period mRNA expression in outer ear skin is dependent on both the light-dark cycle and Opn5 function. In Opn4-/-; Pde6brd1/rd1 mice that cannot behaviorally entrain to light-dark cycles, the phase of skin-clock gene expression remains synchronized to the light-dark cycle, even as other peripheral clocks remain phase-locked to the free-running behavioral rhythm. Taken together, these results demonstrate the presence of a direct photic circadian entrainment pathway and direct light-response elements for clock genes in murine skin, similar to pathways previously described for invertebrates and certain non-mammalian vertebrates

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