Light and circadian regulation of clock components aids flexible responses to environmental signals
Dixon, Laura E.
Hodge, Sarah K.
van Ooijen, Gerben
Akman, Ozgur E.
Millar, Andrew J.
© 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The circadian clock measures time across a 24 h period, increasing fitness by phasing biological processes to the most appropriate time of day. The interlocking feedback loop mechanism of the clock is conserved across species; however, the number of loops varies. Mathematical and computational analyses have suggested that loop complexity affects the overall flexibility of the oscillator, including its responses to entrainment signals. We used a discriminating experimental assay, at the transition between different photoperiods, in order to test this proposal in a minimal circadian network (in Ostreococcus tauri) and a more complex network (in Arabidopsis thaliana). Transcriptional and translational reporters in O. tauri primarily tracked dawn or dusk, whereas in A. thaliana, a wider range of responses were observed, consistent with its more flexible clock. Model analysis supported the requirement for this diversity of responses among the components of the more complex network. However, these and earlier data showed that the O. tauri network retains surprising flexibility, despite its simple circuit. We found that models constructed from experimental data can show flexibility either from multiple loops and/or from multiple light inputs. Our results suggest that O. tauri has adopted the latter strategy, possibly as a consequence of genomic reduction.
This research was supported by EU FP7 collaborative project TiMet (award 245143), BBSRC and EPSRC awards BB/F005237/1, BB/D019621/1 and BB/J009423 (to A.J.M. and others) and EPSRC award EP/I017445/1 (to O.E.A. and others). C.T.'s work was supported by the Human Frontiers Science Program and the Swedish Research Council (award 2010-5219).
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Vol. 203, pp. 568 - 577
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