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Dynamic Localization of the Cyanobacterial Circadian Clock Proteins


Background: The cyanobacterial circadian clock system has been extensively studied, and the structures, interactions, and biochemical activities of the central oscillator proteins (KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC) have been well elucidated. Despite this rich repository of information, little is known about the distribution of these proteins within the cell. Results: Here we report that KaiA and KaiC localize as discrete foci near a single pole of cells in a clock-dependent fashion, with enhanced polar localization observed at night. KaiA localization is dependent on KaiC; consistent with this notion, KaiA and KaiC colocalize with each other, as well as with CikA, a key input and output factor previously reported to display unipolar localization. The molecular mechanism that localizes KaiC to the poles is conserved in Escherichia coli, another Gram-negative rod-shaped bacterium, suggesting that KaiC localization is not dependent on other clock- or cyanobacterial-specific factors. Moreover, expression of CikA mutant variants that distribute diffusely results in the striking delocalization of KaiC. Conclusions: This work shows that the cyanobacterial circadian system undergoes a circadian orchestration of subcellular organization. We propose that the observed spatiotemporal localization pattern represents a novel layer of regulation that contributes to the robustness of the clock by facilitating protein complex formation and synchronizing the clock with environmental stimuli. Cohen etal. elucidate the subcellular localization patterns of the cyanobacterial circadian clock proteins. They demonstrate that KaiA and KaiC localize to the poles of cells at night in a circadian manner. This spatiotemporal pattern of localization is proposed to contribute to the synchronization and robustness of the circadian clock. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.

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