Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Circadian systems include slave oscillators and central pacemakers, and the cores of eukaryotic circadian clocks described to date are composed of transcription and translation feedback loops (TTFLs). In the model system Neurospora, normal circadian rhythmicity requires a TTFL in which a White Collar complex (WCC) activates expression of the frequency (frq) gene, and the FRQ protein feeds back to attenuate that activation. To further test the centrality of this TTFL to the circadian mechanism in Neurospora, we used low-amplitude temperature cycles to compare WT and frq-null strains under conditions in which a banding rhythm was elicited. WT cultures were entrained to these temperature cycles. Unlike those normal strains, however, frq-null mutants did not truly entrain to the same cycles. Their peaks and troughs always occurred in the cold and warm periods, respectively, strongly suggesting that the rhythm in Neurospora lacking frq function simply is driven by the temperature cycles. Previous reports suggested that a FRQ-less oscillator (FLO) could be entrained to temperature cycles, rather than being driven, and speculated that the FLO was the underlying circadian-rhythm generator. These inferences appear to derive from the use of a phase reference point affected by both the changing waveform and the phase of the oscillation. Examination of several other phase markers as well as results of additional experimental tests indicate that the FLO is, at best, a slave oscillator to the TTFL, which underlies circadian rhythm generation in Neurospora.
Pregueiro, Antonio M.; Price-Lloyd, Nathan; Bell-Pedersen, Deborah; Heintzen, Christian; Loros, Jennifer J.; and Dunlap, Jay C., "From the Cover: Assignment of an Essential Role for the Neurospora Frequency Gene in Circadian Entrainment to Temperature Cycles" (2005). Open Dartmouth: Faculty Open Access Articles. 1372.