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Science. 2004 Jun 4;304(5676):1503-6.

Roles of the two Drosophila CRYPTOCHROME structural domains in circadian photoreception.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) is the primary circadian photoreceptor in Drosophila. We show that CRY binding to TIMELESS (TIM) is light-dependent in flies and irreversibly commits TIM to proteasomal degradation. In contrast, CRY degradation is dependent on continuous light exposure, indicating that the CRY-TIM interaction is transient. A novel cry mutation (cry(m)) reveals that CRY's photolyase homology domain is sufficient for light detection and phototransduction, whereas the carboxyl-terminal domain regulates CRY stability, CRY-TIM interaction, and circadian photosensitivity. This contrasts with the function of Arabidopsis CRY domains and demonstrates that insect and plant cryptochromes use different mechanisms.

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