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EMBO J. 1996 Apr 1;15(7):1625-31.

A novel circadianly expressed Drosophila melanogaster gene dependent on the period gene for its rhythmic expression.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305, USA.


The Drosophila melanogaster period (per) gene is required for expression of endogenous circadian rhythms of locomotion and eclosion. per mRNA is expressed with a circadian rhythm that is dependent on Per protein; this feedback loop has been proposed to be essential to the central circadian pacemaker. This model would suggest the Per protein also controls the circadian expression of other genetic loci to generate circadian behavior and physiology. In this paper we describe Dreg-5, a gene whose mRNA is expressed in fly heads with a circadian rhythm nearly identical to that of the per gene. Dreg-5 mRNA continues to cycle in phase with that of per mRNA in conditions of total darkness and also when the daily feeding time is altered. Like per mRNA, Dreg-5 mRNA is not expressed rhythmically in per null mutant flies. Dreg-5 encodes a novel 298 residue protein and Dreg-5 protein isoforms also oscillate in abundance with a circadian rhythm. The phase of Dreg-5 protein oscillation, however, is different from that of Per protein expression, suggesting that Dreg-5 and per have common translational but different post-translational control mechanisms. These results demonstrate that the per gene is capable of modulating the rhythmic expression of other genes; this activity may form the basis of the output of circadian rhythmicity in Drosophila.

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