TitleNoncircadian regulation and function of clock genes period and timeless in oogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsBeaver, LM, Rush, BL, Gvakharia, BO, Giebultowicz, J
JournalJournal of Biological Rhythms
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Circadian clock genes are ubiquitously expressed in the nervous system and peripheral tissues of complex animals. While clock genes in the brain are essential for behavioral rhythms, the physiological roles of these genes in the periphery are not well understood. Constitutive expression of the clock gene period was reported in the ovaries of Drosophila melanogaster; however, its molecular interactions and functional significance remained unknown. This study demonstrates that period (per) and timeless (tim) are involved in a novel noncircadian function in the ovary. PER and TIM are constantly expressed in the follicle cells enveloping young oocytes. Genetic evidence suggests that PER and TIM interact in these cells, yet they do not translocate to the nucleus. The levels of TIM and PER in the ovary are affected neither by light nor by the lack of clock-positive elements Clock (Clk) and cycle (cyc). Taken together, these data suggest that per and tim are regulated differently in follicle cells than in clock cells. Experimental evidence suggests that a novel fitness-related phenotype may be linked to noncircadian expression of clock genes in the ovaries. Mated females lacking either per or tim show nearly a 50% decline in progeny, and virgin females show a similar decline in the production of mature oocytes. Disruption of circadian mechanism by either the depletion of TIM via constant light treatment or continuous expression of PER via GAL4/UAS expression system has no adverse effect on the production of mature oocytes.

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