bims-ciryme Biomed News
on Circadian rhythms and metabolism
Issue of 2020‒11‒22
one paper selected by
Gabriela Da Silva Xavier
University of Birmingham


  1. Curr Biol. 2020 Nov 16. pii: S0960-9822(20)31604-3. [Epub ahead of print]
    Cai YD, Xue Y, Truong CC, Del Carmen-Li J, Ochoa C, Vanselow JT, Murphy KA, Li YH, Liu X, Kunimoto BL, Zheng H, Zhao C, Zhang Y, Schlosser A, Chiu JC.
      Circadian clocks orchestrate daily rhythms in organismal physiology and behavior to promote optimal performance and fitness. In Drosophila, key pacemaker proteins PERIOD (PER) and TIMELESS (TIM) are progressively phosphorylated to perform phase-specific functions. Whereas PER phosphorylation has been extensively studied, systematic analysis of site-specific TIM phosphorylation is lacking. Here, we identified phosphorylation sites of PER-bound TIM by mass spectrometry, given the importance of TIM as a modulator of PER function in the pacemaker. Among the 12 TIM phosphorylation sites we identified, at least two of them are critical for circadian timekeeping as mutants expressing non-phosphorylatable mutations exhibit altered behavioral rhythms. In particular, we observed that CK2-dependent phosphorylation of TIM(S1404) promotes nuclear accumulation of PER-TIM heterodimers by inhibiting the interaction of TIM and nuclear export component, Exportin 1 (XPO1). We propose that proper level of nuclear PER-TIM accumulation is necessary to facilitate kinase recruitment for the regulation of daily phosphorylation rhythm and phase-specific transcriptional activity of CLOCK (CLK). Our results highlight the contribution of phosphorylation-dependent nuclear export of PER-TIM heterodimers to the maintenance of circadian periodicity and identify a new mechanism by which the negative elements of the circadian clock (PER-TIM) regulate the positive elements (CLK-CYC). Finally, because the molecular phenotype of tim(S1404A) non-phosphorylatable mutant exhibits remarkable similarity to that of a mutation in human timeless that underlies familial advanced sleep phase syndrome (FASPS), our results revealed an unexpected parallel between the functions of Drosophila and human TIM and may provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying human FASPS.
    Keywords:  CK2; CLOCK; Drosophila; FASPS; PERIOD; TIMELESS; XPO1; circadian clock; nuclear export; phosphorylation
    DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2020.10.061