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Rockefeller researchers discover a biological clock within a clock

hours that lets the complex explode. The proteins pop apart and roll into the nucleus," Young says. "Somehow, implanted within the system is a timer, formed by Period and Timeless, that counts off six hours. You have a clock within a clock." He notes that this precise timer shows how carefully orchestrated interactions between proteins really are.

Young and Meyer, who's now a postdoctoral researcher at Columbia University, have yet to figure out exactly how the timer works, but its discovery opens up the door to a whole new suite of questions. "How does this interval timer tick? Is it made from additional proteins? Is this the only such timer in the circadian clock? Each of these questions are ahead of us," Young says. "A couple of years ago, we had identified lots of genes and had this sweeping picture of how circadian clocks work. But this indicates that there are much more formidable properties of the system that were overlooked."


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Contact: Joseph Bonner
bonnerj@rockefeller.edu
212-327-8998
Rockefeller University
12-Jan-2006


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