Article

Molecular mechanism of suppression of circadian rhythms by a critical stimulus.

Department of Physiology, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.
The EMBO Journal (Impact Factor: 10.75). 12/2006; 25(22):5349-57. DOI: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601397
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Circadian singularity behavior (also called suppression of circadian rhythms) is a phenomenon characterized by the abolishment of circadian rhythmicities by a critical stimulus. Here we demonstrate that both temperature step up and light pulse, stimuli that activate the expression of the Neurospora circadian clock gene frequency (frq), can trigger singularity behavior in this organism. The arrhythmicity is transient and is followed by the resumption of rhythm in randomly distributed phases. In addition, we show that induction of FRQ expression alone can trigger singularity behavior, indicating that FRQ is a state variable of the Neurospora circadian oscillator. Furthermore, mutations of frq lead to changes in the amplitude of FRQ oscillation, which determines the sensitivity of the clock to phase-resetting cues. Our results further suggest that the singularity behavior is due to the loss of rhythm in all cells. Together, these data suggest that the singularity behavior is due to a circadian negative feedback loop driven to a steady state after the critical treatment. After the initial arrhythmicity, cell populations are then desynchronized.

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