Background: Most physiologic processes exhibit diurnal fluctuations controlled by the circadian regulation of sleepwake behavior and feeding cycles. In addition, many cell types express endogenous circadian rhythms that affect cell-specific processes. Independent reports support the hypothesis that thrombopoietin (TPO) is under circadian control.
Objectives: The current study tested the hypothesis that CLOCK, a circadian transcription factor, may regulate Thpo, the gene encoding TPO.
Methods: Circadian gene expression patterns were analyzed in mice and in human cell lines, Small interfering RNA was used to knock down CLOCK expression in cell lines, and gene expression was also examined in ClockD19/D19 mutant mice.
Results: It was found that there was a diurnal rhythm in the expression of Thpo in vivo in mice, and that this was associated with concomitant rhythms of protein abundance. Thpo was rhythmically expressed in human cell lines, consistent with the gene being directly or indirectly regulated by the circadian clock. Silencing of CLOCK in the Huh7 human hepatoma cell line led to a significant reduction in the rhythmicity of Thpo expression. The expression of Mpl in murine marrow also displayed diurnal rhythmicity in vivo. In ClockD19/D19 mutant mice, Thpo and Mpl expression was disrupted and there was an increase in the number of mature megakaryocytes, but no change in the ploidy distribution within the megakaryocyte population.
Conclusions: These findings establish that Clock regulates Thpo and Mpl expression in vivo, and demonstrate an important link between the body's circadian timing mechanisms and megakaryopoiesis.