A Novel Protein, CHRONO, Functions as a Core Component of the Mammalian Circadian Clock

Akihiro Goriki, Fumiyuki Hatanaka, Jihwan Myung, Jae Kyoung Kim, Takashi Yoritaka, Shintaro Tanoue, Takaya Abe, Hiroshi Kiyonari, Katsumi Fujimoto, Yukio Kato, Takashi Todo, Akio Matsubara, Daniel Forger, Toru Takumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Circadian rhythms are controlled by a system of negative and positive genetic feedback loops composed of clock genes. Although many genes have been implicated in these feedback loops, it is unclear whether our current list of clock genes is exhaustive. We have recently identified Chrono as a robustly cycling transcript through genome-wide profiling of BMAL1 binding on the E-box. Here, we explore the role of Chrono in cellular timekeeping. Remarkably, endogenous CHRONO occupancy around E-boxes shows a circadian oscillation antiphasic to BMAL1. Overexpression of Chrono leads to suppression of BMAL1-CLOCK activity in a histone deacetylase (HDAC) -dependent manner. In vivo loss-of-function studies of Chrono including Avp neuron-specific knockout (KO) mice display a longer circadian period of locomotor activity. Chrono KO also alters the expression of core clock genes and impairs the response of the circadian clock to stress. CHRONO forms a complex with the glucocorticoid receptor and mediates glucocorticoid response. Our comprehensive study spotlights a previously unrecognized clock component of an unsuspected negative circadian feedback loop that is independent of another negative regulator, Cry2, and that integrates behavioral stress and epigenetic control for efficient metabolic integration of the clock.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1001839
JournalPLoS Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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