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Nature. 2000 Mar 2;404(6773):87-91.

Light acts directly on organs and cells in culture to set the vertebrate circadian clock.

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Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS-INSERM-ULP, Illkirch, CU de Strasbourg, France.


The expression of clock genes in vertebrates is widespread and not restricted to classical clock structures. The expression of the Clock gene in zebrafish shows a strong circadian oscillation in many tissues in vivo and in culture, showing that endogenous oscillators exist in peripheral organs. A defining feature of circadian clocks is that they can be set or entrained to local time, usually by the environmental light-dark cycle. An important question is whether peripheral oscillators are entrained to local time by signals from central pacemakers such as the eyes or are themselves directly light-responsive. Here we show that the peripheral organ clocks of zebrafish are set by light-dark cycles in culture. We also show that a zebrafish-derived cell line contains a circadian oscillator, which is also directly light entrained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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