Rhythms Of Drosophila Period Gene Expression In Culture

I. F. Emery
J. M. Noveral
C. F. Jamison
Kathleen King Siwicki, Swarthmore College

This work is freely available courtesy of the National Academy of Sciences.


The Drosophila clock genes period (per) and timeless (tim) have been studied behaviorally and biochemically, but to date there has been no viable culture system for studying the cell biology of the Drosophila clock. We have cultured pupal ring glands attached to the central nervous system and observed rhythms of period gene expression in the prothoracic gland for 4-7 days. A daily rhythm of Per protein can be entrained by light in culture, even when neural activity is blocked by tetrodotoxin. In cultures maintained for a week in constant darkness, a per-luciferase reporter gene revealed circadian rhythms of bioluminescence. As the first circadian culture system from Drosophila, the prothoracic gland provides unique advantages for investigating the interactions between clock genes and cellular physiology.