Polycomb PRC2-Ezh1 cell memory system in circadian clock and diet induced cellular stress regulation in mammalian skeletal muscle

  • Seba S. Nadeef

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The majority of our physiological and metabolic processes are coordinated by an internal clock, which has evolved as an adaptive response to the daily light-dark cycles. Thus, several physiological and behavioral activities display an oscillatory rhythmic period of 24 hours. This highly conserved molecular mechanism is achieved through a specific program of gene expression, characterized by a complex interaction between clock-core proteins, chromatin remodelers and epigenetic events associated with the oscillatory nature of circadian transcriptional activity in the genome. Clock disruption leads to a wide spectrum of severe health problems including chronic metabolic disorders, muscle waste and cardiopathies. Previous studies revealed that each cell and organ possess an intrinsic clock and that coordination between central versus peripheral clocks is key for health. Furthermore, it has been found that under nutritional challenge such as High Fat Diet (HFD), the circadian transcriptome and metabolome are rapidly remodeled in the mouse model. Surprisingly, metabolome and gene expression analysis on various tissues revealed that skeletal muscle is the most affected under HFD. Mechanisms that regulate circadian cycle and stress induced rapid adaptation and in particular metabolic stress at the chromatin level are largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of Polycomb proteins group (PcG) mediate cell memory system by maintaining transcriptional gene silencing, in particular the PRC2-Ezh1. We hypothesized that Ezh1 could play an important role in circadian clock regulation in post-mitotic skeletal muscle, and this pathway has never been explored in this context. We explored the circadian role of PRC2-Ezh1 in the mouse skeletal muscle. Intriguingly, we found that the oscillatory profile of a novel isoform of Ezh1 (Ezh1beta), localized specifically in the cytoplasm and controlling stress induced nuclear PRC2 activity, was completely disrupted under HFD. More interestingly, the circadian pattern of core clock components was impaired in Ezh1 depleted cells. Our data unveils an interesting physiological role of the PcG memory system, from cytoplasm to chromatin, which could indicate a new link between the chromatin remodeler Polycomb proteins and the endogenous clock in adaptation mechanism in skeletal muscle.
Date of AwardNov 2019
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorValerio Orlando (Supervisor)


  • Polycomb Proteins
  • PRC2-EZH1
  • Cell Memory
  • Circadian Clock Regulation
  • Metabolic Adaptation
  • Cell Plasticity

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