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Elucidation of the Role of Clp Protease Components in Circadian Rhythm by Genetic Deletion and Overexpression in Cyanobacteria

Imai, Keiko, Kitayama, Yohko, Kondo, Takao
Journal of bacteriology 2013 v.195 no.19 pp. 4517-4526
Synechococcus elongatus, bacteriology, cell death, circadian rhythm, gene expression regulation, gene overexpression, genes, messenger RNA, mutants, phenotype, protein subunits, proteinases, proteins, translation (genetics)
In the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942, KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC are essential elements of the circadian clock, and Kai-based oscillation is thought to be the basic circadian timing mechanism. The Kai-based oscillator coupled with transcription/translation feedback and other intercellular factors maintains the stability of the 24-hour period in vivo. In this study, we showed that disruption of the Clp protease family genes clpP1, clpP2, and clpX and the overexpression of clpP3 cause long-period phenotypes. There were no significant changes in the levels of the clock proteins in these mutants. The overexpression of clpX led to a decrease in kaiBC promoter activity, the disruption of the circadian rhythm, and eventually cell death. However, after the transient overexpression of clpX, the kaiBC gene expression rhythm recovered after a few days. The rhythm phase after recovery was almost the same as the phase before clpX overexpression. These results suggest that the core Kai-based oscillation was not affected by clpX overexpression. Moreover, we showed that the overexpression of clpX sequentially upregulated ribosomal protein subunit mRNA levels, followed by upregulation of other genes, including the clock genes. Additionally, we found that the disruption of clpX decreased the expression of the ribosomal protein subunits. Finally, we showed that the circadian period was prolonged following the addition of a translation inhibitor at a low concentration. These results suggest that translational efficiency affects the circadian period and that clpX participates in the control of translation efficiency by regulating the transcription of ribosomal protein genes.