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Circadian and ultradian clock-controlled rhythms in unicellular microorganisms

Lloyd, David 1997. Circadian and ultradian clock-controlled rhythms in unicellular microorganisms. Advances in Microbial Physiology 39 , 291--338. 10.1016/S0065-2911(08)60019-3

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The time structure of a biological system is at least as intricate as its spatial structure. Whereas we have detailed information about the latter, our understanding of the former is still rudimentary. As techniques for monitoring intracellular processes continuously in single cells become more refined, it becomes increasingly evident that periodic behaviour abounds in all time domains.Circadian timekeeping dominates in natural environments. Here the free-running period is about 24 h. Circadian rhythms in eukaryotes and prokaryotes allow predictive matching of intracellular states with environmental changes during the daily cycles. Unicellular organisms provide excellent systems for the study of these phenomena, which pervade all higher life forms.Intracellular timekeeping is essential. The presence of a temperature-compensated oscillator provides such a timer. The coupled outputs (epigenetic oscillations) of this ultradian clock constitute a special class of ultradian rhythm. These are undamped and endogenously driven by a device which shows biochemical properties characteristic of transcriptional and translational elements. Energy-yielding processes, protein turnover, motility and the timing of the cell-division cycle processes are all controlled by the ultradian clock. Different periods characterize different species, and this indicates a genetic determinant. Periods range from 30 min to 4 h.Mechanisms of clock control are being elucidated; it is becoming evident that many different control circuits can provide these functions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0065-2911
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 11:00

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