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Cell Rep. 2014 May 22;7(4):1056-64. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2014.03.072. Epub 2014 May 1.

A positive role for PERIOD in mammalian circadian gene expression.

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The Research Institute for Time Studies, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi 753-8511, Japan. Electronic address:
The Research Institute for Time Studies, Yamaguchi University, Yamaguchi 753-8511, Japan.
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.
Department of Radiation Biology and Medical Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Saga University, Saga 849-8501, Japan.


In the current model of the mammalian circadian clock, PERIOD (PER) represses the activity of the circadian transcription factors BMAL1 and CLOCK, either independently or together with CRYPTOCHROME (CRY). Here, we provide evidence that PER has an entirely different function from that reported previously, namely, that PER inhibits CRY-mediated transcriptional repression through interference with CRY recruitment into the BMAL1-CLOCK complex. This indirect positive function of PER is consistent with previous data from genetic analyses using Per-deficient or mutant mice. Overall, our results support the hypothesis that PER plays different roles in different circadian phases: an early phase in which it suppresses CRY activity, and a later phase in which it acts as a transcriptional repressor with CRY. This buffering effect of PER on CRY might help to prolong the period of rhythmic gene expression. Additional studies are required to carefully examine the promoter- and phase-specific roles of PER.

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