A comparative view of insect circadian clock systems

Kenji Tomioka, Akira Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies revealed that the neuronal network controlling overt rhythms shows striking similarity in various insect orders. The pigment-dispersing factor seems commonly involved in regulating locomotor activity. However, there are considerable variations in the molecular oscillatory mechanism, and input and output pathways among insects. In Drosophila, autoregulatory negative feedback loops that consist of clock genes, such as period and timeless are believed to create 24-h rhythmicity. Although similar clock genes have been found in some insects, the behavior of their product proteins shows considerable differences from that of Drosophila. In other insects, mammalian-type cryptochrome (cry2) seems to work as a transcriptional repressor in the feedback loop. For photic entrainment, Drosophila type cryptochrome (cry1) plays the major role in Drosophila while the compound eyes are the major photoreceptor in others. Further comparative study will be necessary to understand how this variety of clock mechanisms derived from an ancestral one.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1406
Number of pages10
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2010


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Clock genes
  • Entrainment
  • Insect
  • Molecular mechanism
  • Neural network

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology


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