Two very interesting papers this week:
The Circadian Clock in Arabidopsis Roots Is a Simplified Slave Version of the Clock in Shoots:
The circadian oscillator in eukaryotes consists of several interlocking feedback loops through which the expression of clock genes is controlled. It is generally assumed that all plant cells contain essentially identical and cell-autonomous multiloop clocks. Here, we show that the circadian clock in the roots of mature Arabidopsis plants differs markedly from that in the shoots and that the root clock is synchronized by a photosynthesis-related signal from the shoot. Two of the feedback loops of the plant circadian clock are disengaged in roots, because two key clock components, the transcription factors CCA1 and LHY, are able to inhibit gene expression in shoots but not in roots. Thus, the plant clock is organ-specific but not organ-autonomous
These data demonstrate that brain oscillator neurons begin development during embryogenesis, that PER expression in non-oscillator cells is CLK-independent, and that oscillator phase is an intrinsic characteristic of brain oscillator neurons. These results define the temporal and spatial coordinates of factors that initiate Clk expression, imply that circadian photoreceptors are not activated until the end of embryogenesis, and suggest that PER functions in a different capacity before oscillator cell development is initiated.