Indexed on: 05 Apr '13Published on: 05 Apr '13Published in: PloS one
From studies of the circadian clock in the plant model species Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), a number of important properties and components have emerged. These include the genes CIRCADIAN CLOCK ASSOCIATED 1 (CCA1), GIGANTEA (GI), ZEITLUPE (ZTL) and TIMING OF CAB EXPRESSION 1 (TOC1 also known as PSEUDO-RESPONSE REGULATOR 1 (PRR1)) that via gene expression feedback loops participate in the circadian clock. Here, we present results from ectopic expression of four Norway spruce (Picea abies) putative homologs (PaCCA1, PaGI, PaZTL and PaPRR1) in Arabidopsis, their flowering time, circadian period length, red light response phenotypes and their effect on endogenous clock genes were assessed. For PaCCA1-ox and PaZTL-ox the results were consistent with Arabidopsis lines overexpressing the corresponding Arabidopsis genes. For PaGI consistent results were obtained when expressed in the gi2 mutant, while PaGI and PaPRR1 expressed in wild type did not display the expected phenotypes. These results suggest that protein function of PaCCA1, PaGI and PaZTL are at least partly conserved compared to Arabidopsis homologs, however further studies are needed to reveal the protein function of PaPRR1. Our data suggest that components of the three-loop network typical of the circadian clock in angiosperms were present before the split of gymnosperms and angiosperms.