Modeling the VPAC2-activated cAMP/PKA signaling pathway: From receptor to circadian clock gene induction

Haiping Hao, Daniel E. Zak, Thomas Sauter, James Schwaber, Babatunde A. Ogunnaike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Increasing evidence suggests an important role for VPAC2-activated signal transduction pathways in maintaining a synchronized biological clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Activation of the VPAC2 signaling pathway induces per1 gene expression in the SCN and phase-shifts the circadian clock. Mice without the VPAC2 receptor lack an overt, coherent circadian rhythm in clock gene expression, SCN neuron firing rate, and locomotor behavior. Using a systems approach, we have developed a kinetic model integrating VPAC2 signaling mediated by the cyclic AMP (cAMP)/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway and leading to induced circadian clock gene expression. We fit the model to experimental data from the literature for cAMP accumulation, PKA activation, cAMP-response element binding protein phosphorylation, and per1 induction. By linking the VPAC2 model to a published circadian clock model, we also simulated clock phase shifts induced by vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and matched experimental data for the VIP response. The simulated phase response curve resembled the hamster response to a related neuropeptide, GRP1-27, and light. Simulations using pulses of VIP revealed that the system response is extraordinarily robust to input signal duration, a result with physiologically relevant consequences. Lastly, simulations using varied receptor levels matched literature experimental data from animals overexpressing VPAC2 receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1560-1571
Number of pages12
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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