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Setting clock speed in mammals: the CK1 epsilon tau mutation in mice accelerates circadian pacemakers by selectively destabilizing PERIOD proteins.

The intrinsic period of circadian clocks is their defining adaptive property. To identify the biochemical mechanisms whereby casein kinase1 (CK1) determines circadian period in mammals, we created mouse null and tau mutants of Ck1 epsilon. Circadian period lengthened in CK1epsilon-/-, whereas CK1epsilon(tau/tau) shortened circadian period of behavior in vivo and suprachiasmatic nucleus firing rates in vitro, by accelerating PERIOD-dependent molecular feedback loops. CK1epsilon(tau/tau) also accelerated molecular oscillations in peripheral tissues, revealing its global role in circadian pacemaking. CK1epsilon(tau) acted by promoting degradation of both nuclear and cytoplasmic PERIOD, but not CRYPTOCHROME, proteins. Together, these whole-animal and biochemical studies explain how tau, as a gain-of-function mutation, acts at a specific circadian phase to promote degradation of PERIOD proteins and thereby accelerate the mammalian clockwork in brain and periphery.

Pubmed ID: 18400165


  • Meng QJ
  • Logunova L
  • Maywood ES
  • Gallego M
  • Lebiecki J
  • Brown TM
  • Sládek M
  • Semikhodskii AS
  • Glossop NR
  • Piggins HD
  • Chesham JE
  • Bechtold DA
  • Yoo SH
  • Takahashi JS
  • Virshup DM
  • Boot-Handford RP
  • Hastings MH
  • Loudon AS



Publication Data

April 10, 2008

Associated Grants

  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id: BB/D004357/1
  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id: BB/E022553/1
  • Agency: Medical Research Council, Id: G0900414
  • Agency: Medical Research Council, Id: MC_U105170643
  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id: S18856
  • Agency: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Id:
  • Agency: Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Id:

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks
  • Casein Kinase Iepsilon
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Period Circadian Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
  • Suprachiasmatic Nucleus
  • Time Factors
  • tau Proteins