Constitutive overexpression of the Drosophila period protein inhibits period mRNA cycling

EMBO J. 1994 Aug 1;13(15):3590-8.


The Drosophila period gene (per) is a likely component of a circadian pacemaker. per protein (PER) participates in the regulation of its own expression, at least in part at the transcriptional level. There is at present no direct evidence that the effect of PER on its own transcription is intracellular. Results presented in this paper show that (i) the circadian oscillations of both per mRNA and PER protein are quantitatively similar in eye photoreceptor cells and in brain; (ii) constitutive overexpression of PER only in photoreceptors R1-R6 represses endogenous per RNA cycling in these cells but not in other per-expressing cells; (iii) the overexpression construct has no effect on locomotor activity rhythms. These results indicate that the autoregulation of per expression is a direct, intracellular event and suggest that each per-expressing cell contains an autonomous oscillator of which the per feedback loop is a component.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Circadian Rhythm / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Homeostasis
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Rhodopsin


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PER protein, Drosophila
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • ninaE protein, Drosophila
  • Rhodopsin