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Robustness of circadian clocks to daylight fluctuations: hints from the picoeucaryote Ostreococcus tauri

Abstract : The development of systemic approaches in biology has put emphasis on identifying genetic modules whose behavior can be modeled accurately so as to gain insight into their structure and function. However most gene circuits in a cell are under control of external signals and thus quantitative agreement between experimental data and a mathematical model is difficult. Circadian biology has been one notable exception: quantitative models of the internal clock that orchestrates biological processes over the 24-hour diurnal cycle have been constructed for a few organisms, from cyanobacteria to plants and mammals. In most cases, a complex architecture with interlocked feedback loops has been evidenced. Here we present first modeling results for the circadian clock of the green unicellular alga Ostreococcus tauri. Two plant-like clock genes have been shown to play a central role in Ostreococcus clock. We find that their expression time profiles can be accurately reproduced by a minimal model of a two-gene transcriptional feedback loop. Remarkably, best adjustment of data recorded under light/dark alternation is obtained when assuming that the oscillator is not coupled to the diurnal cycle. This suggests that coupling to light is confined to specific time intervals and has no dynamical effect when the oscillator is entrained by the diurnal cycle. This intringuing property may reflect a strategy to minimize the impact of fluctuations in daylight intensity on the core circadian oscillator, a type of perturbation that has been rarely considered when assessing the robustness of circadian clocks.
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Contributor : Marc Lefranc Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, July 15, 2010 - 11:03:55 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 18, 2022 - 4:16:02 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, October 22, 2010 - 12:14:48 PM


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Quentin Thommen, Benjamin Pfeuty, Pierre-Emmanuel Morant, Florence Corellou, François-Yves Bouget, et al.. Robustness of circadian clocks to daylight fluctuations: hints from the picoeucaryote Ostreococcus tauri. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2010, 6 (11), pp.e1000990. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000990⟩. ⟨hal-00449974v3⟩



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