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J Biol Rhythms. 1999 Feb;14(1):11-9.

Novel effects on the Gonyaulax circadian system produced by the protein kinase inhibitor staurosporine.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138-2020, USA.


The protein kinase inhibitor staurosporine was found to cause a dramatic increase in the free-running period (FRP) of circadian rhythms in the dinoflagellate Gonyaulax polyedra, and its effect was similar when added at different phases of the circadian cycle. Chronic exposure to staurosporine lengthened the FRP by as much as 7 h without significantly affecting the amplitude or waveform of the bioluminescence rhythm. The effect on the length of the FRP occurred only above a threshold concentration, and it lasted for a limited number of cycles that depended on the dose of the drug. The FRP lengthening was not evident until 23 to 26 h after staurosporine addition, even though the drug entered Gonyaulax cells in 1 h or less. When tested in combination with bright light pulses, staurosporine was found to enhance both light-induced phase advances and delays, indicating that the drug acts on circadian phototransduction. At concentrations that alter the FRP and the response to light pulses, staurosporine appears to act on a small number of protein kinases, attenuating the activity of two individual protein kinases without affecting overall phosphate incorporation into proteins in vitro.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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