Circadian oscillators in eukaryotes

Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. Sep-Oct 2010;2(5):533-549. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.81.


The biological clock, present in nearly all eukaryotes, has evolved such that organisms can adapt to our planet's rotation in order to anticipate the coming day or night as well as unfavorable seasons. As all modern high-precision chronometers, the biological clock uses oscillation as a timekeeping element. In this review, we describe briefly the discovery, historical development, and general properties of circadian oscillators. The issue of temperature compensation (TC) is discussed, and our present understanding of the underlying genetic and biochemical mechanisms in circadian oscillators are described with special emphasis on Neurospora crassa, mammals, and plants.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Circadian Clocks / genetics*
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Eukaryota / genetics*
  • Eukaryota / physiology*
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Humans
  • Mammals / genetics
  • Mammals / physiology
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurospora crassa / genetics
  • Neurospora crassa / physiology
  • Plant Physiological Phenomena
  • Plants / genetics
  • Systems Biology
  • Temperature