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Genetics. 2007 Nov;177(3):1539-51. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Circadian rhythm gene regulation in the housefly Musca domestica.

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Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, Leicester LE1 7RH, United Kingdom.


The circadian mechanism appears remarkably conserved between Drosophila and mammals, with basic underlying negative and positive feedback loops, cycling gene products, and temporally regulated nuclear transport involving a few key proteins. One of these negative regulators is PERIOD, which in Drosophila shows very similar temporal and spatial regulation to TIMELESS. Surprisingly, we observe that in the housefly, Musca domestica, PER does not cycle in Western blots of head extracts, in contrast to the TIM protein. Furthermore, immunocytochemical (ICC) localization using enzymatic staining procedures reveals that PER is not localized to the nucleus of any neurons within the brain at any circadian time, as recently observed for several nondipteran insects. However, with confocal analysis, immunofluorescence reveals a very different picture and provides an initial comparison of PER/TIM-containing cells in Musca and Drosophila, which shows some significant differences, but many similarities. Thus, even in closely related Diptera, there is considerable evolutionary flexibility in the number and spatial organization of clock cells and, indeed, in the expression patterns of clock products in these cells, although the underlying framework is similar.

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