News of the WeekCircadian Rhythms

CRY's Clock Role Differs in Mice, Flies

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Science  23 Jul 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5427, pp. 506-507
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5427.506

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Two research teams have now shown how the light-absorbing protein cryptochrome (CRY) interacts with the circadian clocks of the mouse and fly. The results confirm the suggestion, made last fall, that CRY's roles in the two clocks are quite distinct. In flies, one team reports on page 553, light triggers CRY to reset the clock by interacting directly with a clock protein called TIMELESS. But in mice, the other team reports in Cell, CRY is part of a group of proteins that make up the central clock mechanism and may not be a light receptor at all. Such differences are a recurring theme in animal clocks, which use the same cast of proteins but often in different roles.