Circadian clocks drive rhythms with a period near 24 h, but the molecular basis of the regulation of the period of the circadian clockis poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that metabolites affect the free-running period of the circadian oscillator of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), with endogenous sugars acting as an accelerator and exogenous nicotinamide acting as a brake. Changes in circadian oscillator period are thought to adjust the timing of biological activities through the process of entrainment, in which the circadian oscillator becomes synchronized to rhythmic signals such as light and dark cycles as well as changes in internal metabolism. To identify the molecular components associated with the dynamic adjustment of circadian period, we performed a forward genetic screen. We identified Arabidopsis mutants that were either period insensitive to nicotinamide (sin) or period oversensitive to nicotinamide (son). We mapped son1 to BIG, a gene of unknown molecular function that was shown previously to play a role in light signaling. We found that son1 has an early entrained phase, suggesting that the dynamic alteration of circadian period contributes to the correct timing of biological events. Our data provide insight into how the dynamic period adjustment of circadian oscillators contributes to establishing a correct phase relationship with the environment and show that BIG is involved in this process.
Hearn, T. J., Marti Ruiz, M. C., Abdul-Awal, S. M., Wimalasekera, R., Stanton, C. R., Haydon, M. J., … Webb, A. A. R. (2018). BIG regulates dynamic adjustment of circadian period in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiology, 178(1), 358–371. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.18.00571