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Paper Chase

A molecular mechanism for circadian clock negative feedback.

Science. Jun 17, 2011;332(6036):1436-9.
Duong HA, Robles MS, Knutti D, Weitz CJ.

Department of Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Circadian rhythms in mammals are generated by a feedback loop in which the three PERIOD (PER) proteins, acting in a large complex, inhibit the transcriptional activity of the CLOCK-BMAL1 dimer, which represses their own expression. Although fundamental, the mechanism of negative feedback in the mammalian clock, or any eukaryotic clock, is unknown. We analyzed protein constituents of PER complexes purified from mouse tissues and identified PSF (polypyrimidine tract-binding protein-associated splicing factor). Our analysis indicates that PSF within the PER complex recruits SIN3A, a scaffold for assembly of transcriptional inhibitory complexes and that the PER complex thereby rhythmically delivers histone deacetylases to the Per1 promoter, which repress Per1 transcription. These findings provide a function for the PER complex and a molecular mechanism for circadian clock negative feedback.