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A circadian clock transplant gives E. coli rhythm

The time tinker could be used to treat jet lag, produce drugs

2:11pm, June 12, 2015
Circadian rhythm graphs

DAILY RHYTHM  By transplanting a molecular clock into E. coli bacteria, researchers can control the timing of the production of a protein that glows green, as seen in this diagram.

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A ticking clock in the belly warned Captain Hook of a crocodile’s approach. A different kind of internal clock in gut bacteria may one day prove just as helpful.

Researchers have transplanted a simple circadian clock from cyanobacteria — also known as blue-green algae — into E. coli. The feat, researchers report June 12 in Science Advances, is a first step toward creating organisms that may stave off jet lag or even make drugs on a schedule.

The cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus has one of the simplest mechanisms for generating daily, or circadian, rhythms. Its core clock consists of just three proteins: KaiA, KaiB and KaiC. During the day, KaiA prods KaiC to pin a phosphate molecule to itself, so that KaiC is studded with phosphate at dusk. Then at night, KaiB inhibits KaiA, allowing KaiC to strip off its

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