Gigantea and Spindly genes linked to the clock pathway that controls circadian characteristics of transpiration in Arabidopsis

Robert B. Sothern, Tong Seung Tseng, Sandra L. Orcutt, Neil E. Olszewski, Willard L. Koukkari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Several "clock" genes that regulate the circadian system in Arabidopsis thaliana have been identified. The GIGANTEA (GI) gene has been shown to participate in the circadian system that is linked to overt rhythms in gene expression, leaf movements, hypocotyl elongation, and photoperiodic control of flowering in Arabidopsis. During continuous light (LL), circadian expression patterns in gi-2 mutants show reduced amplitudes and altered period lengths when compared with controls. Rhythms in stomatal function, such as transpiration, have been shown to be endogenous and persist in constant lighting conditions. In order to test for a physiologic variable that might be affected by the circadian clock via the GI gene, we compared circadian characteristics of transpiration between three Arabidopsis mutants (gi-2, spy-4, spy-4/gi-2) and wild-type (WT) controls in synchronized (LD for 2.5 d) and free-running (LL for 3 d) conditions. Each genotype showed a significant circadian rhythm in LD at p<0.001, with acrophases located near the middle of the daily 14h L-span, with average amplitudes for WT: 18.9%, gi-2: 16.1%, spy-4: 7.7%, and spy-4/gi-2: 5.3%. On the first day in LL, the circadian amplitude was dramatically reduced to 3.1% for gi-2 compared with WT (11.9%), while amplitudes for spy-4 (6.9%) and spy- 4/gi-2 (5.7%) were not significantly changed from LD. The amplitude for gi-2 remained low during days 2 (4.2%) and 3 (2.1%) in LL, while it slowly dampened for the WT (8.6 and 6.6%). The amplitudes for spy-4 (6.6%) and spy- 4/gi-2 (5.6%) on day 2 in LL were indistinguishable from the LD span, but finally dampened on day 3 in LL (1.9 and 2.3%, respectively). These data suggest that transpiration is a physiologic variable controlled by a circadian system that involves both the GI and SPY proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1022
Number of pages18
JournalChronobiology international
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to acknowledge the technical assistance of Adelia Falk, Elizabeth Kult, Adeola Okusami, Paul Lee, and Sara Holzbauer. These studies were supported by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (R.B.S., W.L.K.) and the National Science Foundation [MCB-9604126, MCB-9983583, MCB-0112826, and BARD, the United-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (IS-2837-97) to N.E.O.].


  • Arabidopsis
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Clock gene
  • SPY
  • Transpiration


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