Gerstner and Yin Nature Rev Neurosci 2010


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Gerstner and Yin Nature Rev Neurosci 2010

  1. 1. REVIEWS Circadian rhythms and memory formation Jason R. Gerstner*§ and Jerry C. P. Yin*‡ Abstract | There has been considerable progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms that contribute to memory formation and the generation of circadian rhythms. However, it is not well understood how these two processes interact to generate long-term memory. Recent studies in both vertebrate and invertebrate models have shown time-of-day effects on neurophysiology and memory formation, and have revealed a possible role for cycling molecules in memory persistence. Together, these studies suggest that common mechanisms underlie circadian rhythmicity and long-term memory formation.Zeitgeber Circadian rhythms are basic biological phenomena that circadian alterations on neurophysiological processesA German word that means exist throughout phylogeny. They are influenced by that involve synaptic plasticity (such as long-term poten-‘time-giver’. It refers to an zeitgebers and regulate various physiological events that tiation) and on memory formation in nocturnal (night-exogenous cue, such as the include the cell cycle, body temperature, metabolism, feed- active), diurnal (day-active), and crepuscular modellight–dark cycle, that entrainsa circadian rhythm. ing and, perhaps most notably, the sleep–wake cycle. Far systems. On the basis of the cycling pattern of molecu- less well understood is the relationship between circadian lar cascades that are involved in memory formation, weCircadian rhythm rhythm biology and memory formation. The impact of address whether the cyclical reactivation of these cas-The regular cycling of biological time-of-day effects and of circadian rhythms on cognitive cades over the 24-hour day is essentially independentprocesses in an organism over performance in humans1–3 and on memory in animals4–7 from inputs of the core time-keeping cells that are knowna ~24-hour period that occursregardless of the zeitgeber. have been studied for decades, and there has been a to contribute to locomotor rhythm output. This Review renewed interest in this topic in light of an increased expands on previously understood circadian effects on understanding of the genetic, molecular and systems- memory at the behavioural and physiological level, by level events that underlie these complex processes8. focusing on recent data that show a possible involvement Recent discoveries have shown a high level of integration of circadian cycling of specific molecular pathways in*Department of Genetics, between cellular signalling cascades (such as the cyclic long-term memory formation. Further backgroundUniversity of Wisconsin– AMP–mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)– information has been published elsewhere on circadianMadison, 3476 Genetics and cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) rhythms9,10 and memory formation11,12.Biotechnology, 425 Henry pathway) that regulate circadian rhythms and memoryMall, Madison, Wisconsin processing. Disruption of circadian rhythms or specific Are clock genes memory genes?53706, USA.‡ Department of Neurology, signalling cascades that undergo time-of-day-depend- The initial characterization of the molecular playersUniversity of Wisconsin– ent cycling, by behavioural, environmental, genetic or involved in the generation of circadian rhythms wasMadison, 3434 Genetics and pharmacological means, has negative consequences on carried out in the Drosophila melanogaster model. OverBiotechnology, 425 Henry memory and cognitive performance in various tasks and three decades ago, work on fruitflies showed that theMall, Madison, Wisconsin53706, USA. in several species. Given that modern society is becoming periodic timing of the eclosion rhythm was dependent§ Present address: Center for less dependent on the natural 24-hour light–dark cycle, on the strain of fly. This suggested a genetic basis forSleep and Respiratory an increased understanding of the functional relationship the circadian regulation of this process, prompting a for-Neurobiology, University of between circadian rhythms and cognitive function has ward mutagenesis screen that identified the first clockPennsylvania School of broad implications for public health9. gene, period (per)13. This gene was eventually clonedMedicine, TranslationalResearch Laboratories, Here, we summarize studies that have shown a independently by separate laboratories14,15. Levels of per125 South 31st Street, time-of-day effect on memory formation and compare mRNA and protein were shown to cycle in a circadianSuite 2100, Philadelphia, the emerging common themes in various invertebrate manner in flies and mammals and to be a part of a phy-Pennsylvania 19104‑3403, and vertebrate species. We first describe the molecular logenetically conserved transcriptional auto-regulatoryUSA.E‑mails:; pathways and time-of-day-dependent neuronal activity feedback loop (FIG. 1) that is necessary for the patterns that are conserved in circadian pacemaker cells nized expression of the circadian rhythm of locomotordoi:10.1038/nrn2881 in flies and rodents. Next, we present work that shows activity 16,17. In D. melanogaster, mutations in per resultNATuRE REvIEWs | NeuroscieNce vOLuME 11 | AuGusT 2010 | 577 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  2. 2. REVIEWSTime-of-day effect in differences in the length of the eclosion rhythm, and activities under free-running conditions. This suggestsThe effect of the specific point include long (perL), short (pers), and arrhythmic (per 0) that per regulates memory independently of its role inin time during the day–night phenotypes. Interestingly, these mutations cause correla- eclosion or in the generation of circadian rhythms.cycle on the biological tive changes in the periodicity of the circadian locomo- Previous work has shown that there is a role forprocesses of an organism. Theeffect can be dependent or tor activity rhythm in adult flies. under constant dark another transcription factor, CREB, in the core circadianindependent of a zeitgeber. (DD) conditions, pers flies have a shortened circadian clock of flies20 and mammals21. In addition, a functional rhythm, perL have a lengthened circadian rhythm, and cAMP-responsive element (CRE) site in the promoter ofLong-term potentiation per 0 are arrhythmic. This evidence suggests that the sin- mouse per genes that binds CREB has been described22,A persistent increase in gle clock gene per has pleiotropic effects on the timing of suggesting a link between CREB activity and PER activ-synaptic strength followinghigh-frequency stimulation of a two separate processes at different developmental stages. ity in circadian rhythm generation (FIG. 1). A functionalsynapse. Do clock genes have a role in the time-of-day effects on relationship between CREB activity and per expression memory formation? Curiously, in contrast to wild-type was also shown in D. melanogaster 20. Flies that carryCrepuscular flies, in mutant per 0 flies and tim01 flies — which have a luciferase reporter downstream of the per gene pro-Describes an organism that isactive during twilight or during a mutation in the gene encoding Timeless (TIM), the moter (per-luc) have a disrupted and reduced amplitudeday-to-night or night-to-day binding partner of PER proteins — there is no time-of- of circadian transcriptional activity in a CREB-mutanttransitions. day effect on short-term olfactory avoidance memory background, indicating a functional link between CREB under DD conditions18. In addition, as measured in a activity and circadian gene expression in D. mela-Eclosion rhythm courtship conditioning assay, per 0 flies are defective in nogaster. In addition, per expression affects the cyclingThe timing of the emergenceof the adult fly from its pupal long-term memory (LTM) formation — a phenotype of CRE-mediated activity. Flies that carry a luciferasecase, which usually occurs that can be rescued with a wild-type copy of the per gene reporter downstream of three CRE sites (CRE-luc) nor-at dawn. in the per 0 background19. Overexpression of per in this mally show a circadian rhythm of luminescence under paradigm has even been shown to enhance LTM19 despite conditions of 12-hour light followed by 12-hour darkClock geneA gene that regulates aspects these flies retaining rhythmic locomotor and mating (LD) as well as under DD conditions. This CRE-lucof circadian rhythms. D. melanogaster M. musculus CREB P P ? CREB CKII CKIε DBT CLK CLOCK per CYC E-box CRE CRE E-box BMAL Per1, Per2 P CLK CLOCK P PER tim CYC E-box E-box BMAL Cry1, Cry2 PERs TIM CRYs MAPK PER CLK CLOCK PERs MAPK TIM CYC BMAL CRYs PKA PKA Ca2+ Ca2+ cAMP cAMP Nucleus ? P P MEL AC ATP CLK Cytoplasm BMAL ATP AC MEL ? CYC CLOCK Figure 1 | Phylogenetic conservation of the core molecular clock. The molecular clock in flies and mammals is Nature Reviews | Neuroscience composed of transcriptional and translational feedback networks. In flies, CLOCK (CLK) and CYCLE (CYC) heterodimerize and activate transcription of the period (per) and timeless (tim) genes by binding to E-box elements in their promoters. The protein products PER and TIM heterodimerize and enter the nucleus following phosphorylation (P) by proteins such as doubletime (DBT) or casein kinase II (CKII), and repress the transcriptional activity of CLK–CYC. In mammals, the circadian clock comprises a similar feedback network, including CLOCK and the CYC homologue brain and muscle ARNT-like (BMAL), which activate the transcription of per and cryptochrome (cry) genes via E-box elements. PERs and CRYs heterodimerize in the cytoplasm following phosphorylation by proteins such as casein kinase Iε (CKIε), and enter the nucleus where they inhibit CLOCK–BMAL transcriptional activation. Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylates BMAL146, repressing BMAL–CLOCK activity. Putative mechanisms linking melatonin (MEL) rhythms and the circadian clock include repression of adenylate cyclase (AC) and protein kinase A (PKA), a pathway known to influence cAMP-responsive element (CRE)-binding protein (CREB) activation. A second mechanism is thought to activate the MAPK–CREB cascade147,148 through Ca2+ influx, leading to transcriptional activity through CRE elements in the per promoters22. An analogous putative pathway is shown for Drosophila melanogaster, in which MAPK phosphorylation represses CLK–CYC149 or activates CREB, leading to per transcription.578 | AuGusT 2010 | vOLuME 11 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  3. 3. REVIEWSa D. melanogaster OC DN2 CREB regulates normal circadian behaviour in flies20. PI These data support a reciprocal relationship between DN1 LPN LNd CREB- and PER-mediated transcriptional regulation, DN3 with functional relationships in the generation of cir- Large LNv ? ? cadian rhythms. The precise relationship between CREB- and PER-mediated transcriptional activity (for example, through the cAMP–MAPK–CREB cascade) MB in the time-of-day-dependent regulation of memory is still unclear. POT Anatomical relay of circadian centres It is well established that certain molecules with cycling H–B activity patterns influence circadian rhythms, but what is known about how neural networks generate the ulti- OL Small LNv mate behavioural output? Considerable progress has 5th small LNv been made in elucidating the cellular components and neuronal pathways that are responsible for the genera-b M. Musculus Hippocampus Pineal gland tion of circadian rhythms, and some similarities have been found across many species. Across phylogeny, clock-containing circadian pacemaker cells in the cen- OB tral nervous system receive photic input and can drive changes in locomotor rhythms over the course of the day. For example, in mammals, photic activation of non-image-forming retinal ganglion cells, which con- tain the photo-responsive pigment melanopsin, send light information to the central pacemaker of circadian rhythms — the suprachiasmatic nucleus (sCN)23 — via the PVN SCG LH retinohypothalamic tract (RHT)24. The core of the sCN VLPO receives photic input from the RHT and relays it to the TMN subparaventricular zone (sPvz), which in turn relays RHT sPVz DMH the information to other hypothalamic structures (FIG. 2). SCN These hypothalamic structures are known to regulateFigure 2 | Anatomical circadian pathways in flies and mice. a | Reviews | Neuroscience Nature In fruitflies many physiological processes, including thermoregula-(Drosophila melanogaster), various light-receiving cells are involved in functional tion, hormone secretion, feeding behaviour and arousal–neuroanatomical connections, such as those in the Hofbauer–Buchner (H–B) eyelets and sleep states. The sCN is therefore thought to regulateocelli (OC), or from the optic lobes (OL). These project to circadian pacemaker cells, the the circadian timing of these processes. Pathways con-lateral neurons (LN), via the posterior optic tract (POT). LN subtypes include the large, necting the sCN to limbic structures that are involvedsmall, and 5th small ventral LN (LNv), as well as the dorsal LN (LNd). Little is known about in memory processing, such as the hippocampus andthe functional connectivity between these pacemaker cells and other clock cells, such asthe dorsal neurons (DN1, DN2 and DN3 subtypes) the lateral posterior neurons (LPN) or amygdala, have been shown25,26. Other indirect connec-cells that are involved in sleep and memory formation, such as the pars intercerebralis (PI) tions — such as through hypocretin-expressing cells inand mushroom bodies (MB). DNs and LNs comprise the ~150 cells of the clock network in the lateral hypothalamus27 or through superior cervicalthe fly brain. b | In the mouse (Mus musculus), the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) receives ganglion-stimulated melatonin release from the pinealphotic input through the retinohypothalamic tract (RHT). The SCN projects to the dorsal gland28 — could relay sCN-derived circadian input tomedial hypothalamus (DMH) through the subparaventricular zone (sPVz), which projects the hippocampus (FIG. 2). Whether these connections areto various regions in the hypothalamus, including the ventrolateral preoptic area (VLPO), responsible for the time-of-day-dependent expression ofthe lateral hypothalamus (LH) and the paraventricular nucleus (PVN). There are reciprocal memory and/or synaptic plasticity is not known.connections between the VLPO and the tuberomammilary nucleus (TMN), which are In D. melanogaster, photic input entrains a circadianthought to be partly responsible for the proper timing of sleep–wake rhythms. Functional rhythm in circadian pacemaker cells (of which there areconnections between a circadian centre and a memory forming-centre, such as thehippocampus, are not well known. They may be partially gated through hypocretin- or ~150) through at least three pathways29: the eyes30, theorexin-expressing cells of the LH, or by melatonin secretion from the pineal gland Hofbauer–Buchner eyelets31–33 and/or the blue-light photofollowing signalling from the PVN to the superior cervical ganglion (SCG)150. Note that pigment cryptochrome (CRY)30,34. Photoreceptive cellsC57BL/6J mice lack melatonin. OB, olfactory bulb. in the optic lobe are thought to project to the lateral neu- ronal cells via the posterior optic tract 35 (POT) (FIG. 2). This has been supported by recent findings that describe cycling is coordinately altered in per mutants: in perL functional connectivity between the contralateral optic flies, the CRE-luc cycling pattern is lengthened, whereas lobe and the large ventral lateral neurons (LNv) via the it is shortened in pers flies, compared with wild-type POT36. Additionally, the Hofbauer–Buchner eyelets sendSuprachiasmatic nucleus controls, and in per0 flies the CRE-luc activity pattern projections to the accessory medulla37, where they syn-A hypothalamic bilateralstructure that is the central is arrhythmic across the day 20. A mutation in the Creb2 apse with the small LNv pacemaker clock neurons38,39.pacemaker of circadian gene of D. melanogaster also produces a shortened Anatomical connections among pacemaker cells thatrhythms in mammals. circadian cycle of locomotor activity, suggesting that receive and relay this photic input to other brain regionsNATuRE REvIEWs | NeuroscieNce vOLuME 11 | AuGusT 2010 | 579 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  4. 4. REVIEWS — such as the mushroom bodies, a pair of neuropil events downstream of central pacemaker cells, such as structures in the insect brain known to regulate sleep40,41 stimulation of brain regions that are involved in learning and memory formation42,43 — in D. melanogaster are not and memory. well characterized. Although the small LNv cells have Melatonin is a signalling molecule that is widely been shown to project to terminals near the mushroom expressed throughout phylogeny and is secreted in a bodies44, a direct functional connection between pace- time-of-day-dependent manner 53. Recently, melatonin maker cells and cells that are responsible for memory synthesis has been suggested to interact with core circa- formation is still lacking. The genetically tractable model dian mechanisms54. The temporal release of melatonin of D. melanogaster will be valuable in determining the is regulated over the 24-hour day in humans55 and many neural circuitry that is responsible for the integration of other species, including zebrafish56 (Danio rerio), sea these two complex processes. slugs57 (Apylsia californica), mice58 (Mus musculus) and flies59 (D. melanogaster). Interestingly, melatonin affects Time-of-day effects on neurophysiology the firing rate of the mammalian sCN60–62, suggesting It is unclear whether a time-of-day-dependent relay that the time-of-day-dependent regulation of hormo- exists between clock pacemaker neurons and memory- nal secretion may alter the firing patterns of circadian forming cells, such as between the sCN and the hippoc- pacemaker cells. Melatonin also affects the firing rate of ampus of mammals or between the lateral neurons and hippocampal CA1 neurons63. Therefore, circadian hor- the mushroom bodies of flies. However, cyclical changes monal modulation of neuronal firing could be a general over 24-hour periods have been observed in baseline mechanism throughout the brain. It would be interest- physiological properties of central pacemaker cells in ing to know whether there are circadian fluctuations in both mammals and flies. In nocturnal rodents, sCN the baseline sFRs and RMPs in hippocampal or mush- neurons show circadian changes in spontaneous fir- room body neurons, and whether these oscillations ing rate (sFR) and resting membrane potential (RMP), occur in phase with those of the sCN and large LNvs, with an elevated sFR and more depolarized RMP in the respectively. If these circadian firing patterns occur, an light phase than the dark phase45–50 (FIG. 3). A similar important next step will be to address whether they effect was observed in the large LNv pacemaker cells result from functional connectivity between pacemaker in crepuscular D. melanogaster 36,51,52. Taken together, cells and memory-encoding regions, or whether they these data further support a phylogenetically conserved are caused by autonomous cycling molecules or cir- mechanism of circadian neurophysiology in pacemaker culating hormones such as melatonin. Further stud- cells (FIG. 3). This conserved mechanism may influence ies are needed to examine the functional connectivity time-of-day-dependent expression of physiological between these brain regions that are involved in circa- dian rhythms and memory, and to compare baseline neurophysiological properties. Fly large LNv Rodent SCN Time-of-day effects on synaptic plasticity Given that circadian changes in molecular and neuro- physiological properties of pacemaker cells are observed 2 10 throughout the animal kingdom, an obvious question is whether neural correlates of plasticity-related neuro- SFR (Hz) physiology are also regulated by circadian rhythms. In the hippocampus, long-term potentiation (LTP) — a form 0 0 of synaptic plasticity (BOX 1) that is thought to underlie –40 –50 learning and memory 64 — has been shown to change depending on the time of day in various nocturnal RMP (mV) rodents65–70 (FIG. 4). These circadian effects on LTP can be considered a naturally occurring form of metaplasticity71, –60 –60 in that the synaptic efficacy for a given amount of stimu- lation varies based on the time of day. Circadian changes Figure 3 | Time-of-day-dependent neurophysiology in in plasticity may serve as a useful model with which to Nature Reviews | Neuroscience study the neurophysiological and molecular mechanisms pacemaker cells. Fruitflies, which are crepuscular, have a higher spontaneous firing rate (SFR) and resting membrane of metaplasticity. It would also be interesting to compareMelatonin potential (RMP) in their clock cells, such as the large ventral plasticity-related mechanisms in the sCN with those inA catecholamine hormone lateral neurons (LNv), near the dark-to-light transition and the hippocampus. Molecular pathways (FIG. 1) that arederived from serotonin. during the daytime, than in the light-to-dark transition involved in establishing plastic changes in circadian and during the night-time36,52. Similar to fly clock cells, neurophysiology may be more fundamental than previ-Hofbauer–Buchner eyelets neurons in the nocturnal rodent suprachiasmatic nucleusPhotoreceptor cells that are ously appreciated and could be shared with other known (SCN) have an elevation in SFR and RMP during the lightlocated between the retina and period compared with the dark period, despite a difference plasticity-related brain regions, such as those involved inthe lamina of the fly eye. memory formation. Lastly, knowledge of how baseline in the locomotor activity rhythm of these two species49,50.Metaplasticity Top traces show a schematic representation of spike trace conditions can be modulated by the time of day is cru-Alterations in the ability of the frequency over the day–night cycle. White bars represent cial for understanding the effect on synaptic plasticity ofsynapse to change in strength. ‘lights on’; dark green bars represent ‘lights off’. other experimental manipulations.580 | AuGusT 2010 | vOLuME 11 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  5. 5. REVIEWS Box 1 | Physiological analysis of long-term potentiation Two examples of the methods used to study the physiological manifestations of long-term potentiation (LTP) are shown in the figure. Rodent brain slices are obtained at the level of the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN; a), or the hippocampus (b). Following stimulation (STIM) of the optic tract or the Schaffer collateral pathway, recordings are made from electrodes (REC) that are implanted in cells of the SCN or area CA1 of the hippocampus, respectively. Example graphs depicting representative traces of recordings following stimulation show LTP in the form of a population spike or a field potential. Example traces (inset) are shown for the pre-stimulation baseline (shown by the orange line) and post-stimulation LTP (shown by the green line). LTP is expressed as a percentage increase of the slope or amplitude of electrical potential from the baseline over time. ab REC Population spike 300 STIM 1 mV 20 ms % Baseline b a 100 Hippocampus STIM 0 1h Field potential REC 250 STIM STIM % Baseline 100 1 mV 10 ms SCN 0 0 1h Nature Reviews | Neuroscience Synaptic plasticity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Time- the light phase in area CA1 (FIG. 4). A clear influence of-day-dependent changes in synaptic plasticity have of the time of day on LTP in the hippocampal CA1 been observed in the sCN. stimulation of the optic nerve region was also observed in the syrian hamster, with can elicit potentiated responses in the sCN that last for increased LTP in animals that were killed during the hours, analogous to those observed following schaffer light phase than during the dark phase73. However, collateral stimulation of the CA1 region of the hippo- unlike the rat studies analysed previously 67, this study campus (BOX 1). In the sCN of rats, following stimulation used tissue that was harvested during the opposite of the optic nerve and with changes recorded in field time of day from when the electrophysiology was potentials at six time points over the course of the day completed. ‘Daytime’ hippocampal slices were pre- (starting 1 hour after normal lights-on), a potentiation of pared between zeitgeber time (ZT) phase 4.5–5.5, but synaptic strength was observed during the day phase LTP was not evaluated until the night-time (between of the circadian cycle69 (FIG. 4). However, this study was ZT13.5–19.5). Conversely, ‘night-time’ hippocampal unable to detect the previously reported time-of-day- slices were prepared between ZT18.5–19.5, but LTP dependent changes in LTP in the hippocampus67, which was not evaluated until ZT4. LTP in the CA1 was raises questions about how time-of-day effects on LTP greater in hamster tissue that was harvested during may be regulated. the light period and then tested later during the dark period than in hamster tissue that was harvested andInhibitory avoidance Hippocampal long-term potentiation. Hippocampus- tested in the reverse conditions73 (FIG. 4). This promptedconditioningA form of learning in which an dependent tasks, such as inhibitory avoidance conditioning, examination of whether the time-of-day effects onanimal learns to avoid a are thought to elicit LTP-like responses following train- LTP are dependent on the time of tissue harvest orstimulus (for example, a ing 72, suggesting a functional relationship between the time of testing 70. In hippocampal CA1 tissue har-darkened compartment) that synaptic plasticity mechanisms and memory forma- vested from nocturnal C3H and C57Bl/6J strains ofdelivers a shock. tion. In 1977, it was shown that synaptic excitability mice during the light period, LTP was greater in tissueZeitgeber time of the rat hippocampal dentate gyrus exhibited a cir- that was examined during the dark period than during(ZT). Standardized notation for cadian rhythm65. Previously, a meta-analysis examined the light period70 (FIG. 4). These data are in contrastthe time during an entrained over 170 studies for a circadian component of hippoc- to the meta-analysis of nocturnal rat LTP67, but are con-circadian cycle. ZT0 is the start ampal LTP in rats, and found that the incidence and sistent with data on nocturnal hamsters73, and togetherof the light phase and ZT12 isthe beginning of the dark the magnitude of LTP were dependent on the time of suggest that the time-of-day effects on LTP are depend-phase, during a 24-hour day 67. Interestingly, LTP was elevated during the dark ent on the time of testing, and not the time of harvest.light–dark cycle. phase in the dentate gyrus but was elevated during Furthermore, these results support the hypothesis thatNATuRE REvIEWs | NeuroscieNce vOLuME 11 | AuGusT 2010 | 581 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  6. 6. REVIEWS a Rat hippocampal LTP Rat SCN LTP formation in rats78, suggesting a broad action of mela- 300 300 tonin on synaptic plasticity in other brain regions. These Light phase data are interesting given the influence of melatonin on Dark phase memory formation 79 and the timing of melatonin % Baseline peaks in the circadian rhythm of memory formation in various species (FIG. 5). In addition, studies in adrena- lectomized (ADX) rats have implicated hormonal mod- ulation in the time-of-day effect on hippocampal LTP68. 100 DG CA1 100 In ADX rats, the peak of LTP in the dentate gyrus shifted from the night-time to the daytime, suggesting b Hamster hippocampal LTP that hippocampal LTP is regulated by other circulating 300 Time of death 500 hormones, such as those found in the adrenal gland. As the circadian regulation of adrenal corticosterone % Baseline Light > dark is under the influence of the sCN80, the altered cycling Dark > light of hippocampal LTP that is observed in ADX rats may result from a disruption in signalling from the sCN 100 100 CA1 0 30 to the hippocampus via the adrenal gland. Given that the time of testing, rather than the time of harvest, b Mouse (C3H strain) hippocampal LTP seems to affect hippocampal LTP, it is plausible that 500 500 cycling hormones affect the ‘clock-time’ of hippocam- pal cells before tissue harvest. These data suggest that % Baseline Dark Light > dark circulating hormones could operate as a zeitgeber, set- Light ting the clock in hippocampal cells such that they retain 100 100 the rhythm during testing that was previously entrained 0 60 0 60 by hormone signalling. Whether there is a relation- Figure 4 | Time-of-day effects on synaptic plasticity. ship between rhythms of LTP and rhythms of memory Nature Reviews | Neuroscience Time-of-day-dependent changes in long-term formation remains to be determined. potentiation (LTP) occur in various rodent species, including rats, hamsters and mice. a | Interestingly, in the Circadian effects on memory formation nocturnal rat hippocampus, LTP is greater during the dark Time-of-day and circadian effects on cognitive per- phase than in the light phase in the dentate gyrus (DG) formance and memory formation have been observed but is greater during the light phase than in the dark in various behavioural paradigms81–84. The influence of phase in area CA1 (ReF. 67). LTP is also time-of-day- sleep and behavioural state on memory consolidation dependent in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), with are reviewed elsewhere85–87. an elevation during the day phase compared to the night phase69. b | In hippocampal area CA1 of the hamster, LTP is Interestingly, circadian rhythms of locomotor activ- higher when tissue is isolated during the light phase and ity are not an accurate predictor of the timing of optimal tested during the dark phase (light > dark) and lower performance in memory tasks over the course of the when tissue is isolated during the dark phase and tested day. The circadian rhythms in memory formation in during the light phase (dark > light)73. c | In area CA1 of nocturnal, diurnal and crepuscular species do not show the nocturnal mouse, LTP is lower during the light period, a clear correlation with their specific rhythm of locomo- but enhancement of LTP (metaplasticity) occurs when tor activity. For example, peak performance in memory tissue is harvested during the light period and tested tasks occurs during the ‘active phase’ of the diurnal during the dark period70. Taken together, these data zebrafish79 (D. rerio) and sea slug 18,88 (A. californica), suggest that there are endogenous cellular oscillators but during the ‘inactive phase’ of the nocturnal house that continue to function when dissociated from the intact brain, driving time-of-day-dependent changes in mouse89 (M. musculus) and the crepuscular fruitfly 90 synaptic plasticity. (D. melanogaster) (FIG. 5). This suggests that activity lev- els are not responsible for the changes in memory forma- tion that occur over the course of 24 hours, as there is a an independent circadian pacemaker controls the time- clear dissociation of the rest–activity rhythm and cogni- of-day-dependent changes in hippocampal plasticity tive performance in the various chronobiological mod- and that arousal state or sleep per se are not necessary els. This indicates that factors other than the behavioural for circadian changes in LTP. state are involved, supporting the theory that specific cellular or molecular events that cycle over the 24-hour Hormonal regulation of long-term potentia- day are responsible for the enhancement of memory at tion. Hormones have been shown to modulate LTP in specific times. Processes that could contribute to this the sCN and hippocampus. For example, melatonin has memory enhancement include gene transcription andEpigenetic mechanism been shown to block LTP in both regions74–77. C57Bl/6J translation, epigenetic mechanisms, neurotransmitterA process that alters the state mice, which lack melatonin, undergo less dramatic release, synaptic excitability, neuronal activity and hor-of gene expression throughchanges in chromatin structure time-of-day-dependent changes in hippo campal LTP mone secretion. In addition, each of these processes may(that is, DNA or histone than C3H mice, which express melatonin70. Melatonin have different effects on various phases (acquisition,modifications). also inhibits neocortex-dependent LTP and memory consolidation and retrieval) of memory.582 | AuGusT 2010 | vOLuME 11 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  7. 7. REVIEWS a ‘Active-phase’ enhancement b ‘Inactive-phase’ enhancement D. rerio A. californica M. musculus D. melanogaster Activity Activity Activity Activity Memory Memory Memory Memory Melatonin Melatonin Melatonin Melatonin Figure 5 | Melatonin and circadian rhythms of memory. Low levels of melatonin correlate with high levels of memory Nature Reviews | Neuroscience performance and are seemingly independent of the activity state in vertebrate and invertebrate species. In the diurnal zebrafish (Danio rerio) and sea slug (Aplysia californica), there is a time-of-day-dependent enhancement of memory formation during the ‘active phase’ (a) of their circadian rhythm. By constrast, in the nocturnal mouse (Mus musculus) and the crepuscular fruitfly (Drosophila melanogaster), there is memory enhancement during the ‘inactive phase’ (b) of their circadian rhythm. Each species, regardless of activity state, has a corresponding anti-phase relationship between memory performance and melatonin levels. White bars represent ‘lights on’; dark green bars represent ‘lights off’. Figure is based on data from ReFS 56,57,59,79,88–90,93. Does melatonin influence memory? A better predictor of cascades influence the time-of-day effects on memory the circadian variation of peak performance in memory formation. However, the melatonin theory is contro- tasks may be cycling molecules with a periodicity that fol- versial as C57Bl/6J mice exhibit time-of-day-dependent lows the rhythm of performance — rather than the rhythm changes in memory formation89 despite the absence of of locomotor activity — across species. One molecular melatonin58,92,93, and so further studies are warranted. correlate that seems to be a good candidate is melatonin. Interestingly, levels of melatonin are inversely related to Time of acquisition versus time of recall. Differences cognitive function: peak melatonin release occurs during in time-of-day effects on memory acquisition versus the lower periods of performance over the course of the recall have been observed on various tasks in various day in humans8,91 and other species (FIG. 5). This suggests models79,88,89,94–96. In A. californica, the circadian rhythm of that levels of melatonin are good predictors of the nadir long-term sensitization (LTs) was examined88. LTs train- (lowest) period in the time-of-day cycling of memory. ing consists of a series of shocks delivered to the side of Recently, the role of melatonin in the regulation of the sea slug, which elicits a siphon withdrawal response, memory was investigated using an active-avoidance followed by a post-training electrical shock to the tail, conditioning paradigm in zebrafish79. Fish were trained which elicits a ‘sensitized’ siphon withdrawal. Memory in a tank to make an ‘unsafe’ association in a dark com- is expressed as the ratio between pre-training and post- partment, in which they received electric shocks, and training durations of the siphon withdrawal behaviour. a ‘safe’ association within a lit compartment, in which A time-of-day effect on LTs memory was observed, with there were no electric shocks. A clear time-of-day effect peak responses during the ‘active period’ in both LD and was observed in acquisition (learning) and memory DD conditions (FIG. 5). Time-of-day-dependent regula- formation, and both were improved during the daytime tion of the baseline siphon withdrawal response or the (active) period. These effects were maintained under DD withdrawal duration was not observed in either LD or — a condition that is necessary to evaluate whether an DD conditions, suggesting that the memory results from endogenous circadian system controls the time-of-day an endogenous circadian mechanism. This time-of-day effect. Treatment of fish with melatonin before training effect on LTs depended on the time of acquisition, rather had no effect on acquisition but significantly reduced than on the time of recall. The LTs response was greater LTM formation. Fish that were treated with melatonin, in animals that were trained at circadian time 9 (CT9; either following training or just before testing, did not when LTs is enhanced) and tested at CT21 (when LTs is show differences in LTM or retrieval, respectively. This suppressed) than in animals that were trained and testedCircadian time finding supports a role for melatonin in the earlier at CT21. Animals that were trained at CT21 and tested at(CT). Standardized notation for stages of LTM formation. Furthermore, this phenotype CT3 (when LTs is normally enhanced) did not show anan organism’s relative was rescued by treating the fish with melatonin recep- elevated LTs response, suggesting that the time of training(subjective) time. CT0 is the tor antagonists, either simultaneously with melatonin (learning) and not the time of testing (recall) is responsi-start of subjective daytime andCT12 is the start of subjective during the daytime or alone during the night-time ble for the circadian rhythm of LTs in A. californica. Thisnight-time, under constant phase (when endogenous melatonin is high and LTM is in contrast to the result in mice89, which suggested thatdark conditions, over 24 hours. is low). These results suggest that melatonin signalling optimal recall times are under circadian control.NATuRE REvIEWs | NeuroscieNce vOLuME 11 | AuGusT 2010 | 583 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  8. 8. REVIEWS The mouse inbred strains C3H and C57Bl/6J have the formation of 4-day-long memory. This effect does significant time-of-day effects on memory forma- not occur when CREB2A is stimulated in the middle tion in a fear conditioning paradigm89. They display of the daytime (before training), suggesting a time-sen- optimal memory recall during the ‘inactive phase’ sitive window when the encoding of CREB-mediated (the light period) for contextual and cued fear con- enhancement can occur. Additionally, it was shown that ditioning. These mice also show a time-of-day effect time-of-day-dependent cycling of various components on memory acquisition, with an elevation during the of the cAMP cascade is necessary for LTM formation light period, at ZT3, compared with the dark period, in mice96. Circadian cycling of cAMP and MAPK phos- at ZT15. A possible relationship between the effect of phorylation paralleled time-of-day-dependent oscilla- time of acquisition and the effect of the time of recall tions in RAs activity and the phosphorylation of MAPK was also examined. Mice were trained during the day kinase and CREB in the hippocampus. Disruption of the period, at ZT3, under LD conditions. They showed circadian rhythm of this cAMP–MAPK–CREB cascade circadian cycling of memory that was maintained for in the hippocampus, by pharmacological approaches at least 3 days, with a period of ~24 hours and a peak or by exposure of animals to constant light conditions, enhancement reoccurring at the same time as train- impaired memory formation. ing. Interestingly, in DD conditions with training at In A. californica, although baseline activity of MAPK CT3, mice displayed the same ~24-hour periodicity of does not follow a circadian rhythm in the pleural gan- peak memory, reoccurring at CT3 for 3 consecutive glia, LTs training during different times of day produces days89. This suggests that the peak time of acquisition different levels of activated MAPK101. For example, phos- may coincide with the peak time of recall. To test this, phorylation of MAPK increases following LTs training mice were trained during the time of poorer acquisition during the daytime as compared with the night-time, (ZT15), and examined for effects on recall. The circa- and this phosphorylation correlates with patterns of dian cycling of the peak time of recall (ZT3) was pre- LTM enhancement. This poor performance during the served to the third day of testing. To determine whether night-time following LTs training can be rescued using this effect was truly circadian, animals were trained in compounds that activate MAPK activity or MAPK- DD conditions at CT15 and, surprisingly, still showed dependent transcription. It therefore seems that, as in memory enhancement at CT3 on subsequent days of mice96, the circadian clock is also able to modulate LTM testing. This suggests that the peak time of memory formation in A. californica through the MAPK cascade. recall is under time-of-day-dependent control, that it Taken together, these data strongly suggest that cAMP– is independent of the time of training and is regulated MAPK–CREB is a phylogenetically conserved pathway by an endogenous circadian system. for the time-of-day dependence of memory. However, a time-of-day effect on recall not was observed in a subsequent study using fear conditioning Epigenetic factors. Epigenetic factors provide an in C57Bl/6J mice96. specifically, there was no elevation in interesting link between the molecular mechanisms recall at ZT4 when animals were trained at ZT16 (ReF. 96). that underlie circadian rhythms and the formation of However, this study had lower temporal resolution memory. In the mature nervous system these factors than the study described above89, which might account influence changes in synaptic plasticity and complex for the apparent conflict of results. It is also possible that behaviour, such as drug addiction, memory and cir- variation in the strength of the training protocol could cadian rhythms102. Changes in the epigenetic state of skew results, obscuring the circadian effects on memory specific cells may be a principal mechanism by which processes. In addition, when animals are tested repeat- altered gene expression exerts a circadian influence on edly 89, testing would include combined effects of recall, memory formation. Chromatin remodelling follow- reconsolidation and extinction, making it difficult to ing stimulation occurs in hippocampal cells103 and is discern the circadian influence on solely the recall stage induced by light in sCN cells104. It is therefore possible of memory. Further studies examining the role of sev- that epigenetics is a common mechanism relaying the eral memory stages, such as acquisition versus recall, cyclical change in various memory-related processes. are required to determine the relative contributions Rhythmic changes in chromatin states are altered in of these factors to the time-of-day effects on memory a circadian manner 105–107. Furthermore, the protein formation. product of the circadian gene CLOCK itself has histone acetyltransferase activity 108 and has recently been shown Molecular oscillators and memory — with its binding partner brain and muscle ARNT- The cAMP–MAPK–CREB pathway. The cAMP like (BMAL) (FIG. 1) — to regulate LTM formation109.Fear conditioning signalling cascade has a central role in memory Memory formation elicits histone modifications110,111.A form of learning in which fear formation97. For example, in D. melanogaster, overex- It is possible that specific molecular pathways, suchis associated with a neutralstimulus, by pairing the pression of a repressor isoform of CREB (CREB2B) as the cAMP–MAPK–CREB cascade, may stimulateneutral stimulus with an selectively abolishes LTM formation without affect- these epigenetic changes that ultimately drive LTMaversive stimulus. In contrast ing short-term memory 98. By contrast, overexpression through circadian gene expression. Future study of theto inhibitory avoidance of an activator isoform of CREB (CREB2A) enhances relationships between these molecular pathways andconditioning, the animalcannot choose to avoid the LTM99, and this is dependent on the time of day 100. their influence on epigenetic mechanisms may provideconditioned stimulus upon When stimulated near the light–dark transition (before new insight into the circadian regulation of memorytesting. training), conditional expression of CREB2A enhances persistence.584 | AuGusT 2010 | vOLuME 11 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
  9. 9. REVIEWS Directed Autonomous Integrated Conclusions and perspectives The conservation of a time-of-day effect on memory in many species points towards a common molecular mechanism. This is likely to involve the cAMP–MAPK– CREB cascade, which is implicated in the generation of memory and circadian rhythm processes and is phy- Memory circuit Memory circuit Memory circuit logenetically conserved. Given the circadian influence on the regulation of memory-related molecules, neuro- physiology, synaptic plasticity and behaviour, it is crucial that neuroscientists consider the effect of time-of-day- dependent variation on the experimental design, analysis and interpretation of future studies. Further study is needed to examine the signalling pathways involving molecules that have been studied for roles in memory and circadian rhythms, such as fragile X protein. This protein has been shown to regulate circadian rhythms Central pacemaker Central pacemaker Central pacemaker and memory in flies 118–121 and mice 122–124. In addi- tion, levels of vasoactive intestinal peptide (vIP) cycleFigure 6 | Models for the circadian regulation of memory. Cellular and molecular in the rodent sCN and contribute to the signalling ofcorrelates of circadian cycling exist in various regions of the brain. Such regions include Nature Reviews | Neuroscience the cAMP–MAPK–CREB cascade23,125. Interestingly,the mammalian suprachiasmatic nucleus (the central clock), as well as other cell vIP knockout mice, which lack a circadian locomotorpopulations, including those in the mammalian hippocampus (the memory centre). Thedegree to which the central clock is responsible for directing oscillations of the memory rhythm, retain time-of-day effects on memory, albeit tocircuit, versus autonomous control by the memory cells themselves, remains to be a lesser extent than wild-type mice126. Further researchdetermined. An integrated model seems most likely, whereby peripheral oscillators have is needed to determine whether these pleiotropic mole-some control that is coordinated with inputs (either directly or indirectly) from a central cules exert circadian effects on memory through knownpacemaker. Orange circles represent central pacemaker-driven oscillators; blue circles core clock mechanisms or through secondary effectsrepresent autonomous oscillators. Solid arrows indicate direct control; dashed arrows outside of the known circadian pathways.indicate an influence on cellular oscillations. What is the influence of core clock-controlled pace- maker cells on the neuronal networks that are respon- sible for memory formation? As circadian clocks Central versus cell-autonomous oscillators are autonomous in many tissues127, it is possible that Which cells are responsible for driving the circadian reg- cell-autonomous clocks in different regions of the ulation of memory? Is a central pacemaker required, or brain independently control the circadian timing of do cell-autonomous oscillators in the memory-encoding neurophysiology and memory-related processes. For neurons themselves regulate the time-of-day effects on example, in A. californica, time-of-day effects on LTs memory (FIG. 6)? Although sCN ablation inhibits cycling persist in the absence of an ocular circadian oscillator 128, of Per2 in the amygdala and hippocampus of hamsters112, and in D. melanogaster, circadian rhythms in the olfactory it does not prevent expression of the time-stamp memory system are autonomous from lateral neuron pacemaker in a conditioned place-avoidance task113. It is possible cells129. similarly, in rodents, ablation of sCN pacemaker cells that the time stamp could be partially encoded by mem- does not affect circadian oscillations in gene expres- ory cells using the same molecular machinery that is sion in the olfactory bulb130,131 and daily oscillations of involved in maintaining circadian rhythms within pace- gene expression in brain regions outside of the sCN are maker cells. Furthermore, mouse knockouts of neuronal anti-phase to those in the sCN130,132. Interestingly, Per2 PAs domain protein 2 (NPAs2), which is not expressed expression oscillates in isolated hippocampal tissue133, in the sCN but is a binding partner of the essential clock suggesting that circadian gene expression in these extra- protein BMAL, have LTM deficits in cued and contex- sCN regions may be autonomous. Further studies that tual fear conditioning 114. However time–place memory analyse the contribution of endogenous oscillators in — a form of learning in which an association is formed memory-forming brain regions (versus central pacemaker between a specific location and the time of day — still cells) to the time-of-day effects on memory are vital for requires the Cry genes in mice115 (FIG. 1). Together, these our understanding of normal brain physiology. For exam- data suggest that the cycling of specific components of ple, does the learning event itself serve as a zeitgeber in the core molecular oscillatory pathway is required, per- memory-encoding regions, setting a memory ‘clock’ of its haps in the sCN or extra-sCN regions, for the expres- own such that the memory is better retrieved at certainTime stamp sion of time-stamp memory. In addition, rhythms of times of day, as time-stamp conditioning suggests? AreThe time of day that producesoptimal performance in a passive avoidance conditioning in rats5,116 require an the epigenetic mechanisms that are involved downstreammemory task and is associated intact sCN117, supporting a role for central circadian of the light zeitgeber in the clock pacemaker cells (forwith the memory. pacemaker cells in the regulation of time-of-day effects example, the sCN) analogous to the epigenetic mecha- on memory. Further work is therefore needed to deter- nisms that produce an engram in memory centres suchEngramA hypothetical representation mine how circadian transcriptional mechanisms in the as the hippocampus? studies of functional connectivityof the physiological storage of core pacemaker (the sCN), versus the peripheral cells between clock cells and learning and memory centresmemory. (extra-sCN), contribute to the persistence of LTM. over circadian time following training, consolidation andNATuRE REvIEWs | NeuroscieNce vOLuME 11 | AuGusT 2010 | 585 © 2010 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved