Report

Atomic-scale origins of slowness in the cyanobacterial circadian clock

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Jul 2015:
Vol. 349, Issue 6245, pp. 312-316
DOI: 10.1126/science.1261040

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Biochemical basis of a 24-hour clock

Circadian clocks keep organisms in synch with such daily cycles as illumination, activity, and food availability. The circadian clock in cyanobacteria has the necessary 24-hour period despite its three component proteins having biochemical activities that occur on a much faster time scale. Abe et al. focused on the cyanobacterial clock component KaiC, an adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) that can autophosphorylate and autodephosphorylate. The slow ATPase activity of KaiC, which is linked to a peptide isomerisation, provided the slow kinetics that set the speed of the 24-hour clock. Chang et al. found that another clock component, KaiB, also has slow changes in its protein conformation that help to set the oscillation period of the clock and its signaling output.

Science, this issue pp. 312 and 324

Abstract

Circadian clocks generate slow and ordered cellular dynamics but consist of fast-moving bio-macromolecules; consequently, the origins of the overall slowness remain unclear. We identified the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) catalytic region [adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase)] in the amino-terminal half of the clock protein KaiC as the minimal pacemaker that controls the in vivo frequency of the cyanobacterial clock. Crystal structures of the ATPase revealed that the slowness of this ATPase arises from sequestration of a lytic water molecule in an unfavorable position and coupling of ATP hydrolysis to a peptide isomerization with high activation energy. The slow ATPase is coupled with another ATPase catalyzing autodephosphorylation in the carboxyl-terminal half of KaiC, yielding the circadian response frequency of intermolecular interactions with other clock-related proteins that influences the transcription and translation cycle.

View Full Text