Evidence from a number of laboratories over the past 12 years has established that cyanobacteria, a group of photosynthetic eubacteria, possess a circadian pacemaker that controls metabolic and genetic functions. The cyanobacterial circadian clock exhibits the three intrinsic properties that have come to define the clocks of eukaryotes: The timekeeping mechanism controls rhythms that show a period of about 24 h in the absence of external signals, the phase of the rhythms can be reset by light/dark cues, and the period is relatively insensitive to temperature. The promise of cyanobacteria as simple models for elucidating the biological clock mechanism is being fulfilled, as mutants affected in period, rhythm generation, and rhythm amplitude, isolated through the use of real time reporters of gene expression, have implicated genes involved in these aspects of the clock.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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