Unravelling Complex Workings of the Biological Clock

Scientists want to increase their understanding of circadian rhythms, those internal 24-hour biological clock cycles of sleeping and waking that occur in organisms, ranging from humans to plants to fungi to bacteria. A research team has examined the complex workings of cyanobacteria and can now better comprehend what drives its circadian clock. The team, led by researchers from the Institute for Molecular Science, National Institutes of Natural Sciences in Okazaki, Japan, published its findings on April 15, 2022 in Science Advances. The open-access article is titled “Elucidation of Master Allostery Essential for Circadian Clock Oscillation in Cyanobacteria.” The team focused its research on KaiC, the clock protein that regulates the circadian rhythm in cyanobacteria, a type of bacteria that lives in all types of water and which are often found in blue-green algae. These biological clocks in organisms are composed of proteins. The cyanobacterial circadian clock is the simplest circadian clock as far as the number of its components, yet it is still a very complex system that can provide scientists with clues to the working of all circadian clocks. The blueish cyanobacteria are microorganisms that can be found in environments ranging from salt and fresh waters to soils to rocks. The team examined the structural basis for allostery, the complex changes that occur in shape and activity of the KaiC protein in the cyanobacteria. Allostery drives the cyanobacterial circadian clock.
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