An allele of the crm gene blocks cyanobacterial circadian rhythms.
- Author(s): Boyd, Joseph S
- Bordowitz, Juliana R
- Bree, Anna C
- Golden, Susan S
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3752241/
The SasA-RpaA two-component system constitutes a key output pathway of the cyanobacterial Kai circadian oscillator. To date, rhythm of phycobilisome associated (rpaA) is the only gene other than kaiA, kaiB, and kaiC, which encode the oscillator itself, whose mutation causes completely arrhythmic gene expression. Here we report a unique transposon insertion allele in a small ORF located immediately upstream of rpaA in Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 termed crm (for circadian rhythmicity modulator), which results in arrhythmic promoter activity but does not affect steady-state levels of RpaA. The crm ORF complements the defect when expressed in trans, but only if it can be translated, suggesting that crm encodes a small protein. The crm1 insertion allele phenotypes are distinct from those of an rpaA null; crm1 mutants are able to grow in a light:dark cycle and have no detectable oscillations of KaiC phosphorylation, whereas low-amplitude KaiC phosphorylation rhythms persist in the absence of RpaA. Levels of phosphorylated RpaA in vivo measured over time are significantly altered compared with WT in the crm1 mutant as well as in the absence of KaiC. Taken together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Crm polypeptide modulates a circadian-specific activity of RpaA.