TitleCircadian rhythm of acidification in insect vas deferens regulated by rhythmic expression of vacuolar H(+)-ATPase
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBebas, P, Cymborowski, B, Giebultowicz, J
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Recent studies have demonstrated that the peripheral tissues of vertebrates and invertebrates contain circadian clocks; however, little is known about their functions and the rhythmic outputs that they generate. To understand clock-controlled rhythms at the cellular level, we investigated a circadian clock located in the reproductive system of a male moth (the cotton leaf worm Spodoptera littoralis) that is essential for the production of fertile spermatozoa. Previous work has demonstrated that spermatozoa are released from the testes in a daily rhythm and are periodically stored in the upper vas deferens (UVD). In this paper, we demonstrate a circadian rhythm in pH in the lumen of the UVD, with acidification occurring during accumulation of spermatozoa in the lumen. The daily rhythm in pH correlates with a rhythmic increase in the expression of a proton pump, the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase (V-ATPase), in the apical portion of the UVD epithelium. Rhythms in pH and V-ATPase persist in light/dark cycles and constant darkness, but are abolished in constant light, a condition that disrupts clock function and renders spermatozoa infertile. Treatment with colchicine impairs the migration of V-ATPase-positive vesicles to the apical cell membrane and abates the acidification of the UVD lumen. Bafilomycin, a selective inhibitor of V-ATPase activity, also prevents the decline in luminal pH. We conclude that the circadian clock generates a rhythm of luminal acidification by regulating the levels and subcellular distribution of V-ATPase in the UVD epithelium. Our data provide the first evidence for circadian control of V-ATPase, the fundamental enzyme that provides the driving force for numerous secondary transport processes. They also demonstrate how circadian rhythms displayed by individual cells contribute to the synchrony of physiological processes at the organ level.

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