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Fungal Genet Biol. 2010 Feb;47(2):159-68. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2009.09.006. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

Circadian rhythms in Neurospora crassa: Downstream effectors.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA.


The circadian rhythm in Neurospora crassa is exhibited as alternating areas of conidiating and non-conidiating mycelia growth. A significant role in this circadian rhythm is played by the frq (frequency) and wc (white-collar) genes, comprising the "FWC" oscillator. Strains lacking the FWC can be restored to rhythmicity, which has been attributed to a second oscillator, called the FLO (frq-less oscillator). This study reports additional conditions that allow this rhythmicity to occur. Rhythmicity was restored to mutants lacking either the frq, or wc-1, or wc-2 genes in D/D (constant darkness) or L/L (constant light) by the addition of low levels of menadione, a known stimulator of ROS (reactive oxygen species). Additional studies are reported on the rhythm effects from caffeine, a known cAMP phospho-diesterase inhibitor as well as the effects from mutations in the csp-1 gene, the rco-1 gene, and other genes. A theme ties all of these "downstream effects" together, i.e., they affect either components thought to be part of the conidiation process itself, or the RAS-cAMP-protein kinase pathway. Since mutations in these components unexpectedly had rhythm effects, this suggests that these components may be good candidates for some part of the frq-less oscillator.

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