Jun 28, 2003

A fly's eye view of circadian entrainment

Journal of Biological Rhythms
Lesley J Ashmore, Amita Sehgal


The Drosophila circadian clock is an ideal model system for teasing out the molecular mechanisms of circadian behavior and the means by which animals synchronize to day-night cycles. The clock that drives behavioral rhythms, located in the lateral neurons in the central brain, consists of a feedback loop of the circadian genes period (per) and timeless (tim). The molecular cycle, roughly 24 h long, is constantly reset by the environment. This review focuses on the main input pathways of the dominant circadian zeitgeber, light. Light acts directly on the clock primarily through cryptochrome (cry), a deep brain blue-light photoreceptor. CRY activation causes rapid TIM degradation, which is a predicted means of resetting the clock both on a daily basis at dawn and on an acute basis following an entraining light pulse during the night hours. In the absence of cry, the clock can still be driven by photic input through the visual system, though the mechanisms underlying this entrainment are unclear. Temperature can also entrain the clock, although the mechanisms by which this occurs are also unclear.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate
Visual System
Biochemical Pathway
Oscillators, Biological
G-Protein-Coupled Receptors
Drosophila melanogaster Proteins
Circadian Clocks

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