Resetting the Drosophila Clock by Photic Regulation of PER and a PER-TIM Complex

Science  22 Mar 1996:
Vol. 271, Issue 5256, pp. 1740-1744
DOI: 10.1126/science.271.5256.1740


Circadian clocks can be reset by light stimulation. To investigate the mechanism of this phase shifting, the effects of light pulses on the protein and messenger RNA products of the Drosophila clock gene period (per) were measured. Photic stimuli perturbed the timing of the PER protein and messenger RNA cycles in a manner consistent with the direction and magnitude of the phase shift. In addition, the recently identified clock protein TIM (for timeless) interacted with PER in vivo, and this association was rapidly decreased by light. This disruption of the PER-TIM complex in the cytoplasm was accompanied by a delay in PER phosphorylation and nuclear entry and disruption in the nucleus by an advance in PER phosphorylation and disappearance. These results suggest a mechanism for how a unidirectional environmental signal elicits a bidirectional clock response.

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