Environmental time cues, such as photocycles (light/dark) and thermocycles (warm/cold), synchronize (entrain) endogenous biological clocks to local time. Although much is known about entrainment of the Arabidopsis thaliana clock to photocycles, the determinants of thermoperception and entrainment to thermocycles are not known. The Arabidopsis PSEUDO-RESPONSE REGULATOR (PRR) genes, including the clock component TIMING OF CAB EXPRESSION 1/PRR1, are related to bacterial, fungal, and plant response regulators but lack the conserved Asp that is normally phosphorylated by an upstream sensory kinase. Here, we show that two PRR family members, PRR7 and PRR9, are partially redundant; single prr7-3 or prr9-1 mutants exhibit modest period lengthening, but the prr7-3 prr9-1 double mutant shows dramatic and more than additive period lengthening in the light and becomes arrhythmic in constant darkness. The prr7-3 prr9-1 mutant fails both to maintain an oscillation after entrainment to thermocycles and to reset its clock in response to cold pulses and thus represents an important mutant strongly affected in temperature entrainment in higher plants. We conclude that PRR7 and PRR9 are critical components of a temperature-sensitive circadian system. PRR7 and PRR9 could function in temperature and light input pathways or they could represent elements of an oscillator necessary for the clock to respond to temperature signals.
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