Hirayama, J., Cardone, L., Doi, M., and Sassone-Corsi, P. (2005) Common pathways in circadian and cell cycle clocks: Light-dependent activation of Fos/AP-1 in zebrafish controls CRY-1a and WEE-1. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 102(29):10194-10199.
The cell cycle and the circadian clock are endogenous pacemakers, which coexist in most eukaryotic cells and share a number of conceptual features. In the zebrafish, light directly regulates the timing of both clocks, although the signaling and transcriptional pathways that convey photic information to essential nuclear regulators have yet to be deciphered. We have previously established the Z3 cell line, which recapitulates the features of zebrafish circadian clock and represents an ideal system to study light-dependent signaling and gene regulation. We conducted a search for light-responsive transcription factors and found that AP-1 DNA binding is highly induced. Light induces the expression of zWee1, a cell cycle gene essential for G2/M transition, and zCry1a, a clock gene of the feedback regulatory loop. We have found consensus AP-1 sites in the regulatory regions of both zWee1 and zCry1a genes, and we show that light inducibility of both genes is abrogated by inhibition of AP-1 function. Light also elicits chromatin remodeling by stimulating hyperacetylation at Lys-14 of histone H3 at both zWee1 and zCry1a promoters, as assessed by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays by using anti-Fos antibody. These findings provide strong evidence that circadian and cell cycle clocks share unique light-responsive pathways in zebrafish.