Photoperiodic regulation in a wild-derived mouse strain

Cristina Sáenz de Miera* (Corresponding Author), Matthew Beymer, Kevin Routledge, Elżbieta Król, Colin Selman, David G. Hazlerigg, Valérie Simonneaux

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


MSM/Ms (MSM) is a mouse strain derived from Japanese wild mice, Mus musculus molossinus, that maintains the ability to synthesize melatonin in patterns reflecting the ambient photoperiod. The objective of this study was to characterize the effects of photoperiodic variation on metabolic and reproductive traits, and the related changes in pituitary-hypothalamic gene expression in MSM mice. MSM mice were kept in long (LP) or short photoperiod (SP) for 6 weeks. Our results demonstrate that MSM mice kept in LP, as compared with mice kept in SP, display higher expression of genes encoding thyrotropin (TSH) in the pars tuberalis, thyroid hormone deiodinase 2 (dio2) in the tanycytes and RFamide-related peptide (RFRP3) in the hypothalamus, and lower expression of dio3 in the tanycytes, along with larger body and reproductive organ mass. Additionally, to assess the effects of the gestational photoperiodic environment on the expression of these genes, we kept MSM mice in LP or SP from gestation and studied their offspring. We show that the gestational photoperiod affects the TSH/dio pathway in newborn MSM mice in a similar way to adults. This result indicates a transgenerational effect of photoperiod from the mother to the fetus in utero Overall, these results indicate that photoperiod can influence neuroendocrine regulation in a melatonin-proficient mouse strain, in a manner similar to that documented in other seasonal rodent species. MSM mice may therefore become a useful model for research into the molecular basis of photoperiodic regulation of seasonal biology.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb217687
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number6
Early online date25 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

The authors thank Béatrice Bothorel for her help on the melatonin regression analysis and Clarisse Quignon for her help with the microscope images. The authors thank the National Institute of Genetics, Japan, for providing the MSM mice used in this study.

This project was supported by a University of Strasbourg Institute for Advanced Studies fellowship [project: Epigenetic light] to D.G.H., and a grant from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique [Repramide ANR-13-BSV1-001] to V.S.


  • Deiodinases
  • Melatonin
  • Mus musculus molossinus
  • Pars tuberalis
  • Photoperiod
  • Reproduction
  • RFRP3
  • TSH


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