Cold-Inducible RNA-Binding Protein Modulates Circadian Gene Expression Posttranscriptionally
In mammalian tissues, circadian gene expression can be driven by local oscillators or systemic signals controlled by the master pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus. We show that simulated body temperature cycles, but not peripheral oscillators, controlled the rhythmic expression of cold-inducible RNA-binding protein (CIRP) in cultured fibroblasts. In turn, loss-of-function experiments indicated that CIRP was required for high-amplitude circadian gene expression. The transcriptome-wide identification of CIRP-bound RNAs by a biotin-streptavidin–based cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) procedure revealed several transcripts encoding circadian oscillator proteins, including CLOCK. Moreover, CLOCK accumulation was strongly reduced in CIRP-depleted fibroblasts. Because ectopic expression of CLOCK improved circadian gene expression in these cells, we surmise that CIRP confers robustness to circadian oscillators through regulation of CLOCK expression.