Circadian Biology

Just in Time

Science's STKE  26 Jul 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 294, pp. tw275
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2942005tw275

A circadian clock serves to manage internal physiology in a cyclical manner. Dodd et al. now investigate the advantages conferred by having a circadian clock. Arabidopsis plants with cycles closely matched to their environmental light-dark cycle showed improved fitness relative to plants whose cycles did not fit well. The mechanisms may involve production of certain proteins in a "just in time" manner, anticipating daylight soon enough to produce the photosynthetic machinery, but not so much in advance that certain unstable proteins start to degrade.

A. N. Dodd, N. Salathia, A. Hall, E. Kévei, R. Tóth, F. Nagy, J. M. Hibberd, A. J. Millar, A. A. R. Webb, Plant circadian clocks increase photosynthesis, growth, survival, and competitive advantage. Science 309, 630-633 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]