Research Findings


Analysing the evolutional and functional differentiation of four types of Daphnia magna cryptochrome in Drosophila circadian clock

(Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 20;9(1):8857. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45410-w.)

Nitta Y1,2, Matsui S3, Kato Y3, Kaga Y4, Sugimoto K5, Sugie A1,2

1Center for Transdisciplinary Research, Niigata University
2Brain Research Institute, Niigata University
3Department of Cell Science, Faculty of Graduate School of Science and Technology, Niigata University
4School of Medicine, Niigata University
5Department of Cell Science, Faculty of Graduate School of Science and Technology, Niigata University


Cryptochrome (CRY) plays an important role in the input of circadian clocks in various species, but gene copies in each species are evolutionarily divergent. Type I CRYs function as a photoreceptor molecule in the central clock, whereas type II CRYs directly regulate the transcriptional activity of clock proteins. Functions of other types of animal CRYs in the molecular clock remain unknown. The water flea Daphnia magna contains four Cry genes. However, it is still difficult to analyse these four genes. In this study, we took advantage of powerful genetic resources available from Drosophila to investigate evolutionary and functional differentiation of CRY proteins between the two species. We report differences in subcellular localisation of each D. magna CRY protein when expressed in the Drosophila clock neuron. Circadian rhythm behavioural experiments revealed that D. magna CRYs are not functionally conserved in the Drosophila molecular clock. These findings provide a new perspective on the evolutionary conservation of CRY, as functions of the four D. magna CRY proteins have diverse subcellular localisation levels. Furthermore, molecular clocks of D. magna have been evolutionarily differentiated from those of Drosophila. This study highlights the extensive functional diversity existing among species in their complement of Cry genes.

*Reprinted under a CC BY 4.0 license.

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