The Plant Circadian Clock: From a Simple Timekeeper to a Complex Developmental Manager

Author: Sanchez, Sabrina E.; Kay, Steve A.

Description: The plant circadian clock allows organisms to anticipate the predictable changes in the environment by adjusting their developmental and physiological traits. In the last few years, it was determined that responses known to be regulated by the oscillator are also able to modulate clock performance. These feedback loops and their multilayer communications create a complex web, and confer on the clock network a role that exceeds the measurement of time. In this article, we discuss the current knowledge of the wiring of the clock, including the interplay with metabolism, hormone, and stress pathways in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. We outline the importance of this system in crop agricultural traits, highlighting the identification of natural alleles that alter the pace of the timekeeper. We report evidence supporting the understanding of the circadian clock as a master regulator of plant life, and we hypothesize on its relevant role in the adaptability to the environment and the impact on the fitness of most organisms.

Subject headings: Arabidopsis; Circadian Clocks; Gene Expression Regulation, Plant; Genes, Plant

Publication year: 2016

Journal or book title: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology

Volume: 8

Issue: 12

Pages: a027748

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Serial number: 3941