Tissue-specific clocks in Arabidopsis show asymmetric coupling

Nature. 2014 Nov 20;515(7527):419-22. doi: 10.1038/nature13919. Epub 2014 Oct 29.


Many organisms rely on a circadian clock system to adapt to daily and seasonal environmental changes. The mammalian circadian clock consists of a central clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus that has tightly coupled neurons and synchronizes other clocks in peripheral tissues. Plants also have a circadian clock, but plant circadian clock function has long been assumed to be uncoupled. Only a few studies have been able to show weak, local coupling among cells. Here, by implementing two novel techniques, we have performed a comprehensive tissue-specific analysis of leaf tissues, and show that the vasculature and mesophyll clocks asymmetrically regulate each other in Arabidopsis. The circadian clock in the vasculature has characteristics distinct from other tissues, cycles robustly without environmental cues, and affects circadian clock regulation in other tissues. Furthermore, we found that vasculature-enriched genes that are rhythmically expressed are preferentially expressed in the evening, whereas rhythmic mesophyll-enriched genes tend to be expressed in the morning. Our results set the stage for a deeper understanding of how the vasculature circadian clock in plants regulates key physiological responses such as flowering time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Circadian Clocks / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Mesophyll Cells / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / physiology

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE50438