The period E-box Is Sufficient to Drive Circadian Oscillation of Transcription In Vivo Academic Article uri icon


  • The minimum element from the Drosophila period promoter capable of driving in vivo cycling mRNA is the 69 bp circadian regulatory sequence (CRS). In cell culture, an 18 bp E-box element from the period promoter is regulated by five genes that are involved in the regulation of circadian expression in flies. This E-box is a target for transcriptional activation by bHLH-PAS proteins dCLOCK (dCLK) and CYCLE (CYC), this activation is inhibited by PERIOD (PER) and TIMELESS (TIM) together, and inhibition of dCLK/CYC by PER and TIM is blocked by CRYPTOCHROME (CRY) in the presence of light. Here, the same 18 bp E-box region generated rhythmic expression of luciferase in flies under both light-dark cycling and constant conditions. Flies heterozygous for the Clke(jrk) mutation maintained rhythmic expression from the E-box although at a lower level than wild type. Homozygous mutant Clk(jrk) animals had drastically lowered and arrhythmic expression. In a per01 background, expression from the E-box was high and not rhythmic. Transcription mediated by the per E-box was restricted to the same spatial pattern as the CRS. The per E-box DNA element and cognate binding proteins can confer per-like temporal and spatial expression. This demonstrates in vivo that the known circadian genes that form the core of the circadian oscillator in Drosophila integrate their activities at a single DNA element.

author list (cited authors)

  • Darlington, T. K., Lyons, L. C., Hardin, P. E., & Kay, S. A.

citation count

  • 38

publication date

  • December 2000