Animal behavior is synchronized to the 24-hour light:dark (LD) cycle by regulatory programs that produce circadian fluctuations in gene expression throughout the body. In mammals, the transcription factor CLOCK controls circadian oscillation in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the brain; its paralog, neuronal PAS domain protein 2 (NPAS2), performs a similar function in other forebrain sites. To investigate the role of NPAS2 in behavioral manifestations of circadian rhythm, we studied locomotor activity, sleep patterns, and adaptability to both light- and restricted food-driven entrainment in NPAS2-deficient mice. Our results indicate that NPAS2 plays a substantive role in maintaining circadian behaviors in normal LD and feeding conditions and that NPAS2 is critical for adaptability to food restriction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas