In Vivo Monitoring of Circadian Clock Gene Expression in the Mouse Suprachiasmatic Nucleus Using Fluorescence Reporters

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


This technique combines optical fiber mediated fluorescence recordings with the precise delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus based gene reporters. This new and easy to use in vivo fluorescence monitoring system was developed to record the transcriptional rhythm of the clock gene, Cry1, in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of freely moving mice. To do so, a Cry1 transcription fluorescence reporter was designed and packaged into Adeno-associated virus. Purified, concentrated virus was injected into the mouse SCN followed by the insertion of an optic fiber, which was then fixed onto the surface of the brain. The animals were returned to their home cages and allowed a 1-month post-operative recovery period to ensure sufficient reporter expression. Fluorescence was then recorded in freely moving mice via an in vivo monitoring system that was constructed at our institution. For the in vivo recording system, a 488 nm laser was coupled with a 1 × 4 beam-splitter that divided the light into four laser excitation outputs of equal power. This setup enabled us to record from four animals simultaneously. Each of the emitted fluorescence signals was collected via a photomultiplier tube and a data acquisition card. In contrast to the previous bioluminescence in vivo circadian clock recording technique, this fluorescence in vivo recording system allowed the recording of circadian clock gene expression during the light cycle.