Mechanisms of Input and Output in Circadian Transduction Pathways

  • Isabelle Carré
  • Steve A. Kay
Part of the Plant Gene Research book series (GENE)


Many important cellular processes are observed to occur rhythmically with peak activity occurring once every twenty-four hours. These rhythms have been demonstrated to be under endogenous control, as they occur under constant environmental conditions (for review, see Edmunds, 1988). The cellular machinery that generates circadian rhythms is known collectively as the biological clock. An understanding of the molecular components that constitute these ubiquitous pacemakers will have broad significance for many organisms, including humans. Recent progress in systems such as Drosophila (Dunlap, 1993; Hall, 1990) and Neurospora (Dunlap, 1990, 1993) as well as vertebrate species (Takahashi, 1991, 1993; Ralph et al., 1990) has demonstrated that clocks are accessible to genetic and molecular dissection. In the case of Drosophila and Neurospora, genetic approaches have identified, respectively, the period (per) and frequency (frq) loci (amongst others), mutations of which lead to a variety of abnormal clock functions (Dunlap, 1990, 1993; Hall, 1990; see below). Physiological studies in the invertebrates, Bulla (McMahon and Block, 1987), Aplysia (Jacklet and Lotshaw, 1986), the avian pineal gland (Takahashi, 1991), and the mammalian suprachiasmatic nucleus (Takahashi, 1993; Ralph et al., 1990) have demonstrated the existence of pacemaker organs and identified some of the intracellular messengers that are involved in generating rhythms. In the marine unicellular alga Gonyaulax, biochemical studies have revealed that translation of the luciferin binding protein mrna is circadian-regulated (Morse et al., 1989a; Mittag et al., 1994).


Circadian Rhythm Guard Cell Circadian Clock Stomatal Opening Circadian Oscillator 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Carré
  • Steve A. Kay

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