Regulation of the mammalian pineal by non-rod, non-cone, ocular photoreceptors.
In mammals, ocular photoreceptors mediate an acute inhibition of pineal melatonin by light. The effect of rod and cone loss on this response was assessed by combining the rd mutation with a transgenic ablation of cones (cl) to produce mice lacking both photoreceptor classes. Despite the loss of all known retinal photoreceptors, rd/rd cl mice showed normal suppression of pineal melatonin in response to monochromatic light of wavelength 509 nanometers. These data indicate that mammals have additional ocular photoreceptors that they use in the regulation of temporal physiology. (+info)
Antagonistic actions of Arabidopsis cryptochromes and phytochrome B in the regulation of floral induction.
The Arabidopsis photoreceptors cry1, cry2 and phyB are known to play roles in the regulation of flowering time, for which the molecular mechanisms remain unclear. We have previously hypothesized that phyB mediates a red-light inhibition of floral initiation and cry2 mediates a blue-light inhibition of the phyB function. Studies of the cry2/phyB double mutant provide direct evidence in support of this hypothesis. The function of cryptochromes in floral induction was further investigated using the cry2/cry1 double mutants. The cry2/cry1 double mutants showed delayed flowering in monochromatic blue light, whereas neither monogenic cry1 nor cry2 mutant exhibited late flowering in blue light. This result suggests that, in addition to the phyB-dependent function, cry2 also acts redundantly with cry1 to promote floral initiation in a phyB-independent manner. To understand how photoreceptors regulate the transition from vegetative growth to reproductive development, we examined the effect of sequential illumination by blue light and red light on the flowering time of plants. We found that there was a light-quality-sensitive phase of plant development, during which the quality of light exerts a profound influence on flowering time. After this developmental stage, which is between approximately day-1 to day-7 post germination, plants are committed to floral initiation and the quality of light has little effect on the flowering time. Mutations in either the PHYB gene or both the CRY1 and CRY2 genes resulted in the loss of the light-quality-sensitive phase manifested during floral development. The commitment time of floral transition, defined by a plant's sensitivity to light quality, coincides with the commitment time of inflorescence development revealed previously by a plant's sensitivity to light quantity - the photoperiod. Therefore, the developmental mechanism resulting in the commitment to flowering appears to be the direct target of the antagonistic actions of the photoreceptors. (+info)
Photomophogenesis: Phytochrome takes a partner!
How light signals are transduced by phytochromes is still poorly understood. Recent studies have provided evidence that a PAS domain protein, PIF3, physically interacts with phytochromes, plays a role in phytochrome signal transduction and might be a component of a novel signalling pathway in plants. (+info)
Circadian rhythms: Something to cry about?
Recent studies suggest that a class of proteins known as cryptochromes have an evolutionarily conserved role in the entrainment of circadian rhythms to the night-day cycle. While the evidence reported is intriguing, the notion that cryptochromes have the same role in all species requires further investigation. (+info)
An extraretinally expressed insect cryptochrome with similarity to the blue light photoreceptors of mammals and plants.
Photic entrainment of insect circadian rhythms can occur through either extraretinal (brain) or retinal photoreceptors, which mediate sensitivity to blue light or longer wavelengths, respectively. Although visual transduction processes are well understood in the insect retina, almost nothing is known about the extraretinal blue light photoreceptor of insects. We now have identified and characterized a candidate blue light photoreceptor gene in Drosophila (DCry) that is homologous to the cryptochrome (Cry) genes of mammals and plants. The DCry gene is located in region 91F of the third chromosome, an interval that does not contain other genes required for circadian rhythmicity. The protein encoded by DCry is approximately 50% identical to the CRY1 and CRY2 proteins recently discovered in mammalian species. As expected for an extraretinal photoreceptor mediating circadian entrainment, DCry mRNA is expressed within the adult brain and can be detected within body tissues. Indeed, tissue in situ hybridization demonstrates prominent expression in cells of the lateral brain, which are close to or coincident with the Drosophila clock neurons. Interestingly, DCry mRNA abundance oscillates in a circadian manner in Drosophila head RNA extracts, and the temporal phasing of the rhythm is similar to that documented for the mouse Cry1 mRNA, which is expressed in clock tissues. Finally, we show that changes in DCry gene dosage are associated predictably with alterations of the blue light resetting response for the circadian rhythm of adult locomotor activity. (+info)
Light-dependent sequestration of TIMELESS by CRYPTOCHROME.
Most organisms have circadian clocks consisting of negative feedback loops of gene regulation that facilitate adaptation to cycles of light and darkness. In this study, CRYPTOCHROME (CRY), a protein involved in circadian photoperception in Drosophila, is shown to block the function of PERIOD/TIMELESS (PER/TIM) heterodimeric complexes in a light-dependent fashion. TIM degradation does not occur under these conditions; thus, TIM degradation is uncoupled from abrogation of its function by light. CRY and TIM are part of the same complex and directly interact in yeast in a light-dependent fashion. PER/TIM and CRY influence the subcellular distribution of these protein complexes, which reside primarily in the nucleus after the perception of a light signal. Thus, CRY acts as a circadian photoreceptor by directly interacting with core components of the circadian clock. (+info)
mCRY1 and mCRY2 are essential components of the negative limb of the circadian clock feedback loop.
We determined that two mouse cryptochrome genes, mCry1 and mCry2, act in the negative limb of the clock feedback loop. In cell lines, mPER proteins (alone or in combination) have modest effects on their cellular location and ability to inhibit CLOCK:BMAL1 -mediated transcription. This suggested cryptochrome involvement in the negative limb of the feedback loop. Indeed, mCry1 and mCry2 RNA levels are reduced in the central and peripheral clocks of Clock/Clock mutant mice. mCRY1 and mCRY2 are nuclear proteins that interact with each of the mPER proteins, translocate each mPER protein from cytoplasm to nucleus, and are rhythmically expressed in the suprachiasmatic circadian clock. Luciferase reporter gene assays show that mCRY1 or mCRY2 alone abrogates CLOCK:BMAL1-E box-mediated transcription. The mPER and mCRY proteins appear to inhibit the transcriptional complex differentially. (+info)
Blue light-directed destabilization of the pea Lhcb1*4 transcript depends on sequences within the 5' untranslated region.
Pea seedlings grown in continuous red light accumulate significant levels of Lhcb1 RNA. When treated with a single pulse of blue light with a total fluence >10(4) micromol m(-2), the rate of Lhcb1 transcription is increased, whereas the level of Lhcb1 RNA is unchanged from that in control seedlings. This RNA destabilization response occurs in developing leaves but not in the apical bud. The data presented here indicate that the same response occurs in the cotyledons of etiolated Arabidopsis seedlings. The blue light-induced destabilization response persists in long hypocotyl hy4 and phytochrome phyA, phyB, and hy1 mutants as well as in far-red light-grown seedlings, indicating that neither CRY1 (encoded by the hy4 locus) nor phytochrome is the sole photoreceptor. Studies with transgenic plants indicate that the destabilization element in the pea Lhcb1*4 transcript resides completely in the 5' untranslated region. (+info)