Casein kinase 2, circadian clocks, and the flight from mutagenic light
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- Allada, R. & Meissner, R. Mol Cell Biochem (2005) 274: 141. doi:10.1007/s11010-005-2943-1
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Circadian clocks play a fundamental role in biology and disease. Much has been learned about the molecular underpinnings of these biological clocks from genetic studies in model organisms, such as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Here we review the literature from our lab and others that establish a role for the protein kinase CK2 in Drosophila clock timing. Among the clock genes described thus far, CK2 is unique in its involvement in plant, fungal, as well as animal circadian clocks. We propose that this reflects an ancient, conserved function for CK2 in circadian clocks. CK2 and other clock genes have been implicated in cellular responses to DNA damage, particularly those induced by ultraviolet (UV) light. The finding of a dual function of CK2 in clocks and in UV responses supports the notion that clocks evolved to assist organisms in avoiding the mutagenic effects of daily sunlight.