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Watching the Clock: Generating cyanobacterial circadian rhythm

05/12/2008

In the June 1 issue of G&D, Dr. Takao Kondo and colleagues (Nagoya University) reveal that the clock protein KaiC is the primary pacemaker for the cyanobacterial circadian clock, but not in the manner previously thought. Previous research had suggested that the KaiC phosphorylation cycle organized circadian rhythmicity in the blue-green algae, Synechococcus elongatus. However, Dr. Kondo's upcoming paper clearly shows that the temperature-compensated circadian cycling of gene expression persisted even when KaiC phosphorylation cycle was arrested in either the phosphorylated or dephosphorylated state. The researchers went on to demonstrate that KaiC's inherent ATPase activity, or some other closely related reaction (which is unknown at present and will be the focus of future research), is the true regulator of the cyanobacterial circadian clock -- controlling both the transcription-translation rhythm and the KaiC phosphorylation cycle to make them couple with each other for robust and precise circadian rhythm.


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