A Novel Cryptochrome-Dependent Oscillator in Neurospora crassa Academic Article uri icon


  • Several lines of evidence suggest that the circadian clock is constructed of multiple molecular feedback oscillators that function to generate robust rhythms in organisms. However, while core oscillator mechanisms driving specific behaviors are well described in several model systems, the nature of other potential circadian oscillators is not understood. Using genetic approaches in the fungus Neurospora crassa, we uncovered an oscillator mechanism that drives rhythmic spore development in the absence of the well-characterized FRQ/WCC oscillator (FWO) and in constant light, conditions under which the FWO is not functional. While this novel oscillator does not require the FWO for activity, it does require the blue-light photoreceptor CRYPTOCHROME (CRY); thus, we call it the CRY-dependent oscillator (CDO). The CDO was uncovered in a strain carrying a mutation in cog-1 (cry-dependent oscillator gate-1), has a period of ∼1 day in constant light, and is temperature-compensated. In addition, cog-1 cells lacking the circadian blue-light photoreceptor WC-1 respond to blue light, suggesting that alternate light inputs function in cog-1 mutant cells. We show that the blue-light photoreceptors VIVID and CRY compensate for each other and for WC-1 in CRY-dependent oscillator light responses, but that WC-1 is necessary for circadian light entrainment.

altmetric score

  • 8.83

author list (cited authors)

  • Nsa, I. Y., Karunarathna, N., Liu, X., Huang, H., Boetteger, B., & Bell-Pedersen, D.

citation count

  • 32

publication date

  • October 2014