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WC-2 mediates WC-1–FRQ interaction within the PAS protein-linked circadian feedback loop of Neurospora

Oxford University Press
Publication Date
  • Article
  • Biology


Eukaryotic circadian clocks comprise feedback loops where PAS domain-containing transcriptional activators drive gene expression of negative elements. In Neurospora, clock models posit a White Collar complex (WCC) containing WC-1 and WC-2 that activates expression of the central clock gene frequency (frq); FRQ protein is hypothesized to feed back to block the activity of the WCC. We have characterized the WC-2 protein and its role in this complex: WC-2 is an abundant constitutive nuclear protein, in contrast to rhythmically expressed FRQ and WC-1. WC-2 interacts with WC-1 and FRQ but, significantly, WC-1 and FRQ do not interact in the absence of WC-2. By quantifying the relative numbers of WC-2, FRQ and WC-1 proteins and complexes in cell extracts, both the numbers and types of complexes at different circadian times were estimated, yielding results consistent with the model. Constitutive and abundant WC-2 appears to provide a scaffold allowing for the interaction of two limiting and rhythmically out-of-phase proteins, FRQ and WC-1, and this temporal and physical relationship may be responsible for rhythmic expression of frq.

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