Circadian clocks drive daily rhythms in physiology and behaviour, and thus allow organisms to better adapt to rhythmic changes in the environment. Circadian oscillators are cell-autonomous systems, which generate via transcriptional, post-transcriptional, translational and post-translational control mechanisms a daily activity-rhythm of a circadian transcription factor complex. According to recent models, this complex of transcription factors controls directly or indirectly expression of a large number of genes, and thus generates the potential to modulate physiological processes in a rhythmic fashion. The basic principles of the generation of circadian oscillation are similar in all eukaryotic systems. The circadian clock of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is well characterized at the molecular level. Focusing on the molecular properties, interactions and post-translational modifications of the core Neurospora clock proteins WHITE COLLAR-1, WHITE COLLAR-2, FREQUENCY and VIVID, this review summarizes our knowledge of the molecular basis of circadian time keeping in Neurospora. Moreover, we discuss the mechanisms by which environmental cues like light and temperature entrain and reset this circadian system.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology