Recent reports have shown that the nuclear phosphoprotein Fos is induced by light in a mammalian circadian clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus. To learn how light and circadian phase affect the binding of Fos to DNA, we analyzed the photic and temporal regulation of immunoreactive Jun protein expression and AP-1 DNA-binding activity in the rat suprachiasmatic nucleus. Immunohistochemistry and gel mobility shift assays suggest that AP-1 activity during the night and after a light pulse consists of constant, as well as variable, protein components; JunD could be identified as a constituent of both dark- and light-activated binding complexes, whereas binding by JunB and Fos could be implicated only after photic stimulation. Since JunD or JunB could be colocalized with Fos in individual suprachiasmatic nucleus cell nuclei, light may be acting in at least some suprachiasmatic nucleus cells by altering AP-1 protein composition rather than binding site occupancy. © 1993.
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