Biscontin A, Martini P, Costa R, Kramer A, Meyer B, Kawaguchi S, Teschke M, De Pittà C
Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is a high latitude pelagic organism which plays a central role in the Southern ocean ecosystem. E. superba shows daily and seasonal rhythms in physiology and behaviour, which are synchronized with the environmental cycles of its habitat. Recently, the main components of the krill circadian machinery have been identified and characterized. However, the exact mechanisms through which the endogenous timing system operates the control and regulation of the overt rhythms remains only partially understood. Here we investigate the involvement of the circadian clock in the temporal orchestration of gene expression by using a newly developed version of a krill microarray platform. The analysis of transcriptome data from krill exposed to both light-dark cycles (LD 18:6) and constant darkness (DD), has led to the identification of 1,564 putative clock-controlled genes. A remarkably large proportion of such genes, including several clock components (clock, period, cry2, vrille, and slimb), show oscillatory expression patterns in DD, with a periodicity shorter than 24 hours. Energy-storage pathways appear to be regulated by the endogenous clock in accordance with their ecological relevance in daily energy managing and overwintering. Our results provide the first representation of the krill circadian transcriptome under laboratory, free-running conditions.