GFP fluorescence reports Period 1 circadian gene regulation in the mammalian biological clock.

Endogenous cyclic activation of a specific set of genes, including Period 1 (Per1), drive circadian rhythms in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a biological clock nucleus of the brain. We have produced transgenic mice in which a degradable form of recombinant jellyfish green fluorescent protein (GFP) is driven by the mouse Period 1 (mPer1) gene promoter. GFP protein is expressed in the circadian neural structures of the retina and SCN. Fluorescent signals are resolved at the level of individual neurons. mPer1-driven GFP fluorescence intensity reports light-induction and circadian rhythmicity in SCN neurons. This circadian reporter transgene captures the gene expression dynamics of living biological clock neurons and ensembles, providing a novel view of this brain function.