Around the Fungal Clock: Recent Advances in the Molecular Study of Circadian Clocks in Neurospora and Other Fungi.
Advances in genetics, January 2015
Montenegro-Montero, Alejandro, Canessa, Paulo, Larrondo, Luis F, Larrondo, Luis F., Alejandro Montenegro-Montero, Paulo Canessa, Luis F. Larrondo
Night follows day and as a consequence, organisms have evolved molecular machineries that allow them to anticipate and respond to the many changes that accompany these transitions. Circadian clocks are precise yet plastic pacemakers that allow the temporal organization of a plethora of biological process. Circadian clocks are widespread across the tree of life and while their exact molecular components differ among phyla, they tend to share common design principles. In this review, we discuss the circadian system of the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Historically, this fungus has served a key role in the genetic and molecular dissection of circadian clocks, aiding in their detailed mechanistic understanding. Recent studies have provided new insights into the daily molecular dynamics that constitute the Neurospora circadian oscillator, some of which have questioned traditional paradigms describing timekeeping mechanisms in eukaryotes. In addition, recent reports support the idea of a dynamic network of transcription factors underlying the rhythmicity of thousands of genes in Neurospora, many of which oscillate only under specific conditions. Besides Neurospora, which harbors the best characterized circadian system among filamentous fungi, the recent characterization of the circadian system of the plant-pathogenic fungus Botrytis cinerea has provided additional insights into the physiological impact of the clock and potential additional functions of clock proteins in fungi. Finally, we speculate on the presence of FRQ or FRQ-like proteins in diverse fungal lineages.
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