Transcriptional regulation lies at the core of the circadian clockwork, but how the clock-related transcription machinery controls the circadian phase is not understood. Here, we show both in human cells and in mice that RuvB-like ATPase 2 (RUVBL2) interacts with other known clock proteins on chromatin to regulate the circadian phase. Pharmacological perturbation of RUVBL2 with the adenosine analog compound cordycepin resulted in a rapid-onset 12-hour clock phase-shift phenotype at human cell, mouse tissue, and whole-animal live imaging levels. Using simple peripheral injection treatment, we found that cordycepin penetrated the blood-brain barrier and caused rapid entrainment of the circadian phase, facilitating reduced duration of recovery in a mouse jet-lag model. We solved a crystal structure for human RUVBL2 in complex with a physiological metabolite of cordycepin, and biochemical assays showed that cordycepin treatment caused disassembly of an interaction between RUVBL2 and the core clock component BMAL1. Moreover, we showed with spike-in ChIP-seq analysis and binding assays that cordycepin treatment caused disassembly of the circadian super-complex, which normally resides at E-box chromatin loci such as PER1, PER2, DBP, and NR1D1. Mathematical modeling supported that the observed type 0 phase shifts resulted from derepression of E-box clock gene transcription.
ASJC Scopus subject areas