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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Feb 2;107(5):2043-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907902107. Epub 2010 Jan 19.

A circadian clock in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Chronobiology, University of Groningen, 9750AA Haren, The Netherlands.


Circadian timing is a fundamental biological process, underlying cellular physiology in animals, plants, fungi, and cyanobacteria. Circadian clocks organize gene expression, metabolism, and behavior such that they occur at specific times of day. The biological clocks that orchestrate these daily changes confer a survival advantage and dominate daily behavior, for example, waking us in the morning and helping us to sleep at night. The molecular mechanism of circadian clocks has been sketched out in genetic model systems from prokaryotes to humans, revealing a combination of transcriptional and posttranscriptional pathways, but the clock mechanism is far from solved. Although Saccharomyces cerevisiae is among the most powerful genetic experimental systems and, as such, could greatly contribute to our understanding of cellular timing, it still remains absent from the repertoire of circadian model organisms. Here, we use continuous cultures of yeast, establishing conditions that reveal characteristic clock properties similar to those described in other species. Our results show that metabolism in yeast shows systematic circadian entrainment, responding to cycle length and zeitgeber (stimulus) strength, and a (heavily damped) free running rhythm. Furthermore, the clock is obvious in a standard, haploid, auxotrophic strain, opening the door for rapid progress into cellular clock mechanisms.

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