Circadian clock of organisms has a free-running period that does not change much with ambient temperature. This property "temperature compensation" is studied when the rate of all reaction steps increase with temperature in the biochemical network generating the rhythm. The period becomes shorter when all the rate parameters are enhanced by the same factor. However, the period becomes longer as degradation rate of proteins and/or transcription rate of the clock gene increase (their elasticity is positive). This holds for a wide range of models, including N-variable model, and PER-TIM double oscillator model, provided that (1) branch reactions (e.g. degradation of proteins or mRNAs) are strongly saturated, and that (2) the cooperativity of transcription inhibition by nuclear proteins is not very large. A strong temperature sensitivity of degradation of PER proteins and/or temperature-sensitive alternative splicing of per gene, known for Drosophila, can be mechanisms for the temperature compensation of circadian clock. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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