The circadian clock plays a crucial role in coordinating plant metabolic and physiological functions with predictable environmental variables, such as dusk and dawn, while also modulating responses to biotic and abiotic challenges. Much of the initial characterization of the circadian system has focused on transcriptional initiation, but it is now apparent that considerable regulation is exerted after this key regulatory step. Transcript processing, protein stability, and cofactor availability have all been reported to influence circadian rhythms in a variety of species. We used a genetic screen to identify a mutation within a putative RNA binding protein (SPLICEOSOMAL TIMEKEEPER LOCUS1 [STIPL1]) that induces a long circadian period phenotype under constant conditions. STIPL1 is a homolog of the spliceosomal proteins TFP11 (Homo sapiens) and Ntr1p (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) involved in spliceosome disassembly. Analysis of general and alternative splicing using a high-resolution RT-PCR system revealed that mutation of this protein causes less efficient splicing of most but not all of the introns analyzed. In particular, the altered accumulation of circadian-associated transcripts may contribute to the observed mutant phenotype. Interestingly, mutation of a close homolog of STIPL1, STIP-LIKE2, does not cause a circadian phenotype, which suggests divergence in function between these family members. Our work highlights the importance of posttranscriptional control within the clock mechanism.
Via Biswapriya Biswavas Misra