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Neuron. 2003 Jan 23;37(2):249-61.

VRILLE feeds back to control circadian transcription of Clock in the Drosophila circadian oscillator.

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Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Houston, 369 Science and Research Bldg 2, Houston, TX 77204, USA.


The Drosophila circadian oscillator consists of interlocked period (per)/timeless (tim) and Clock (Clk) transcriptional/translational feedback loops. Within these feedback loops, CLK and CYCLE (CYC) activate per and tim transcription at the same time as they repress Clk transcription, thus controlling the opposite cycling phases of these transcripts. CLK-CYC directly bind E box elements to activate transcription, but the mechanism of CLK-CYC-dependent repression is not known. Here we show that a CLK-CYC-activated gene, vrille (vri), encodes a repressor of Clk transcription, thereby identifying vri as a key negative component of the Clk feedback loop in Drosophila's circadian oscillator. The blue light photoreceptor encoding cryptochrome (cry) gene is also a target for VRI repression, suggesting a broader role for VRI in the rhythmic repression of output genes that cycle in phase with Clk.

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