Organisms living in the intertidal zone are exposed to a particularly challenging environment. In addition to daily changes in light intensity and seasonal changes in photoperiod and weather patterns, they experience dramatic oscillations in environmental conditions due to the tides. To anticipate tides, and thus optimize their behavior and physiology, animals occupying intertidal ecological niches have acquired circatidal clocks. Although the existence of these clocks has long been known, their underlying molecular components have proven difficult to identify, in large part because of the lack of an intertidal model organism amenable to genetic manipulation. In particular, the relationship between the circatidal and circadian molecular clocks, and the possibility of shared genetic components, has been a long-standing question. Here, we introduce the genetically tractable crustacean Parhyale hawaiensis as a system for the study of circatidal rhythms. First, we show that P. hawaiensis exhibits robust 12.4-h rhythms of locomotion that can be entrained to an artificial tidal regimen and are temperature compensated. Using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing, we then demonstrate that the core circadian clock gene Bmal1 is required for circatidal rhythms. Our results thus demonstrate that Bmal1 is a molecular link between circatidal and circadian clocks and establish P. hawaiensis as a powerful system to study the molecular mechanisms underlying circatidal rhythms and their entrainment.
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- CRISPR-Cas9 mediated mutagenesis
- Parhyale hawaiensis
- circadian rhythms
- circatidal rhythms