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Adv Genet. 2011;74:55-103. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387690-4.00003-9.

The genetics of circadian rhythms in Neurospora.

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1
Department of Biology, York University, Toronto Ontario, Canada.

Abstract

This chapter describes our current understanding of the genetics of the Neurospora clock and summarizes the important findings in this area in the past decade. Neurospora is the most intensively studied clock system, and the reasons for this are listed. A discussion of the genetic interactions between clock mutants is included, highlighting the utility of dissecting complex mechanisms by genetic means. The molecular details of the Neurospora circadian clock mechanism are described, as well as the mutations that affect the key clock proteins, FRQ, WC-1, and WC-2, with an emphasis on the roles of protein phosphorylation. Studies on additional genes affecting clock properties are described and place these genes into two categories: those that affect the FRQ/WCC oscillator and those that do not. A discussion of temperature compensation and the mutants affecting this property is included. A section is devoted to the observations pertinent to the existence of other oscillators in this organism with respect to their properties, their effects, and their preliminary characterization. The output of the clock and the control of clock-controlled genes are discussed, emphasizing the phasing of these genes and the layers of control. In conclusion, the authors provide an outlook summarizing their suggestions for areas that would be fruitful for further exploration.

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