A promoterless period gene mediates behavioral rhythmicity and cyclical per expression in a restricted subset of the Drosophila nervous system

Neuron. 1994 Mar;12(3):555-70. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(94)90212-7.


Transgenic flies carrying a 7.2 kb piece of DNA from the period (per) gene were analyzed for the presence of circadian locomotor activity rhythms and fluctuations of per-encoded mRNA and protein. The 5' end of this genomic fragment is within the first intron, which precedes the coding region. This promotorless fragment could rescue circadian behavioral rhythms and mediate spatial expression of PER in a subset of wild-type per cells within the CNS and PNS. In one behaviorally rhythmic line, PER protein was found in only "per lateral neurons." In the rhythmic transgenics, per mRNA and protein levels undergo circadian cycling, as previously described for wild type. Cycling of PER in brain cells of flies carrying the same 7.2 kb piece of per DNA under the control of a heat shock promoter corroborated the hypothesis that per's molecular cyclings and behavioral rhythmicity are causally related.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm*
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PER protein, Drosophila
  • Period Circadian Proteins