Transcriptional Basis for Rhythmic Control of Hunger and Metabolism within the AgRP Neuron

Jonathan Cedernaes, Wenyu Huang, Kathryn Moynihan Ramsey, Nathan Waldeck, Lei Cheng, Biliana Marcheva, Chiaki Omura, Yumiko Kobayashi, Clara Bien Peek, Daniel C. Levine, Ravindra Dhir, Raj Awatramani, Christopher A. Bradfield, Xiaozhong A. Wang, Joseph S. Takahashi, Mohamad Mokadem, Rexford S. Ahima, Joseph Bass*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


The alignment of fasting and feeding with the sleep/wake cycle is coordinated by hypothalamic neurons, though the underlying molecular programs remain incompletely understood. Here, we demonstrate that the clock transcription pathway maximizes eating during wakefulness and glucose production during sleep through autonomous circadian regulation of NPY/AgRP neurons. Tandem profiling of whole-cell and ribosome-bound mRNAs in morning and evening under dynamic fasting and fed conditions identified temporal control of activity-dependent gene repertoires in AgRP neurons central to synaptogenesis, bioenergetics, and neurotransmitter and peptidergic signaling. Synaptic and circadian pathways were specific to whole-cell RNA analyses, while bioenergetic pathways were selectively enriched in the ribosome-bound transcriptome. Finally, we demonstrate that the AgRP clock mediates the transcriptional response to leptin. Our results reveal that time-of-day restriction in transcriptional control of energy-sensing neurons underlies the alignment of hunger and food acquisition with the sleep/wake state. The central molecular clock aligns feeding with the sleep/wake state. Cedernaes et al. employ RNA sequencing in AgRP neurons across different nutrient states, revealing time-of-day-dependent enrichment of circadian and bioenergetic gene networks. They discover that the behavioral and transcriptional response to leptin varies from morning to evening, as the AgRP clock coordinates the leptin response and glucose metabolism with arousal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1078-1091.e5
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 7 2019


  • AgRP
  • Agouti-related protein
  • RNA sequencing
  • RNA-seq
  • RiboTag
  • SCN
  • circadian
  • metabolism
  • suprachiasmatic nucleus
  • time-restricted feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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