Regulation of output from the plant circadian clock

FEBS J. 2007 Jan;274(2):335-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2006.05616.x.


Plants, like many other organisms, have endogenous biological clocks that enable them to organize their physiological, metabolic and developmental processes so that they occur at optimal times. The best studied of these biological clocks are the circadian systems that regulate daily (approximately 24 h) rhythms. At the core of the circadian system in every organism are oscillators responsible for generating circadian rhythms. These oscillators can be entrained (set) by cues from the environment, such as daily changes in light and temperature. Completing the circadian clock model are the output pathways that provide a link between the oscillator and the various biological processes whose rhythms it controls. Over the past few years there has been a tremendous increase in our understanding of the mechanisms of the oscillator and entrainment pathways in plants and many useful reviews on the subject. In this review we focus on the output pathways by which the oscillator regulates rhythmic plant processes. In the first part of the review we describe the role of the circadian system in regulation at all stages of a plant's development, from germination and growth to reproductive development as well as in multiple cellular processes. Indeed, the importance of a circadian clock for plants can be gauged by the fact that so many facets of plant development are under its control. In the second part of the review we describe what is known about the mechanisms by which the circadian system regulates these output processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Biological Clocks
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Hormones / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Oscillometry
  • Photosynthesis
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena*
  • Pollen / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Hormones
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Calcium