Using real-time gene expression imaging and behavioral analysis, we found that the perinatal photoperiod has lasting effects on the circadian rhythms expressed by clock neurons as well as on mouse behavior, and sets the responsiveness of the biological clock to subsequent changes in photoperiod. These developmental gene × environment interactions tune circadian clock responses to subsequent seasonal photoperiods and may contribute to the influence of season on neurobehavioral disorders in humans.
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The authors would like to thank J.Y. Cohen for kindly providing custom software programming. This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grants P50 MH078028 (D.G.M.), T32 MH64913 and F31 MH080547 (C.M.C.).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Ciarleglio, C., Axley, J., Strauss, B. et al. Perinatal photoperiod imprints the circadian clock. Nat Neurosci 14, 25–27 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn.2699
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