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The Functional Interplay between Protein Kinase CK2 and CCA1 Transcriptional Activity Is Essential for Clock Temperature Compensation in Arabidopsis

PLoS Genetics
Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1001201
  • Research Article
  • Plant Biology
  • Plant Biology/Plant Genetics And Gene Expression
  • Plant Biology/Plant Growth And Development
  • Plant Biology/Plant-Environment Interactions
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology


Circadian rhythms are daily biological oscillations driven by an endogenous mechanism known as circadian clock. The protein kinase CK2 is one of the few clock components that is evolutionary conserved among different taxonomic groups. CK2 regulates the stability and nuclear localization of essential clock proteins in mammals, fungi, and insects. Two CK2 regulatory subunits, CKB3 and CKB4, have been also linked with the Arabidopsis thaliana circadian system. However, the biological relevance and the precise mechanisms of CK2 function within the plant clockwork are not known. By using ChIP and Double–ChIP experiments together with in vivo luminescence assays at different temperatures, we were able to identify a temperature-dependent function for CK2 modulating circadian period length. Our study uncovers a previously unpredicted mechanism for CK2 antagonizing the key clock regulator CIRCADIAN CLOCK-ASSOCIATED 1 (CCA1). CK2 activity does not alter protein accumulation or subcellular localization but interferes with CCA1 binding affinity to the promoters of the oscillator genes. High temperatures enhance the CCA1 binding activity, which is precisely counterbalanced by the CK2 opposing function. Altering this balance by over-expression, mutation, or pharmacological inhibition affects the temperature compensation profile, providing a mechanism by which plants regulate circadian period at changing temperatures. Therefore, our study establishes a new model demonstrating that two opposing and temperature-dependent activities (CCA1-CK2) are essential for clock temperature compensation in Arabidopsis.

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