Function of the Shaw potassium channel within the Drosophila circadian clock

Cold Spring Harb Symp Quant Biol
September 2007
Full Article
Glaser FT
Stanewsky R

The natural light/dark and temperature cycles are considered to be the most prominent factors that synchronize circadian clocks with the environment. Understanding the principles of temperature entrainment significantly lags behind our current knowledge of light entrainment in any organism subject to circadian research. Nevertheless, several effects of temperature on circadian clocks are well understood, and similarities as well as differences to the light-entrainment pathways start to emerge. This chapter provides an overview of the temperature effects on the Drosophila circadian clock with special emphasis on synchronization by temperature cycles. As in other organisms, such temperature cycles can serve as powerful time cues to synchronize the clock. Mutants that specifically interfere with aspects of temperature entrainment have been isolated and will likely help to reveal the underlying mechanisms. These mechanisms involve transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of clock genes. For synchronization of fly behavior by temperature cycles, the generation of a whole organism or systemic signal seems to be required, even though individual fly tissues can be synchronized under isolated culture conditions. If true, the requirement for such a signal would reveal a fundamental difference to the light-entrainment mechanism.