A Molecular Rhythm Mediating Circadian Clock Output in Drosophila

Neuron. 1998 Feb;20(2):297-303. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80457-2.


Analysis of the Drosophila lark gene indicates that it encodes an RNA-binding protein that functions as a regulatory element of the circadian clock output pathway controlling adult eclosion. We now demonstrate that the lark RNA-binding protein oscillates in abundance during the circadian cycle; importantly, the phasing of the lark rhythm is consistent with gene-dosage studies, which indicate that the protein behaves as a repressor molecule. The lark protein rhythm persists in constant conditions (continuous darkness and constant temperature) and is eliminated by period gene null mutations, confirming that it is under clock control and suggesting that it acts as an output mechanism that mediates the temporal regulation of adult eclosion. We also show that lark protein oscillates in abundance within a defined group of neuropeptide (CCAP) -containing neurons of the ventral nervous system (VNS), which in other insects are thought to comprise cellular elements of the clock output pathway regulating eclosion.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Insect Proteins / analysis
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neuropeptides / analysis
  • Neuropeptides / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / physiology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Lark protein, Drosophila
  • Neuropeptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • crustacean cardioactive peptide