The circadian clock interacts with other regulatory pathways to tune physiology to predictable daily changes and unexpected environmental fluctuations. However, the complexity of circadian clocks in higher organisms has prevented a clear understanding of how natural environmental conditions affect circadian clocks and their physiological outputs. Here, we dissect the interaction between circadian regulation and responses to fluctuating light in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus. We demonstrate that natural changes in light intensity substantially affect the expression of hundreds of circadian-clock-controlled genes, many of which are involved in key steps of metabolism. These changes in expression arise from circadian and light-responsive control of RNA polymerase recruitment to promoters by a network of transcription factors including RpaA and RpaB. Using phenomenological modeling constrained by our data, we reveal simple principles that underlie the small number of stereotyped responses of dusk circadian genes to changes in light.
- Erin K O'Shea
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Naama Barkai, Reviewing Editor, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
© 2017, Piechura et al.
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