Indexed on: 25 Apr '07Published on: 25 Apr '07Published in: Advances in genetics
The filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa is one of a handful of model organisms that has proven tractable for dissecting the molecular basis of a eukaryotic circadian clock. Work on Neurospora and other eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms has revealed that a limited set of clock genes and clock proteins are required for generating robust circadian rhythmicity. This molecular clockwork is tuned to the daily rhythms in the environment via light- and temperature-sensitive pathways that adjust its periodicity and phase. The circadian clockwork in turn transduces temporal information to a large number of clock-controlled genes that ultimately control circadian rhythms in physiology and behavior. In summarizing our current understanding of the molecular basis of the Neurospora circadian system, this chapter aims to elucidate the basic building blocks of model eukaryotic clocks as we understand them today.