Membrane Models for Circadian Rhythms

  • Wolfgang Engelmann
  • Martin Schrempf


Complex systems tend to oscillate, whether they be technical systems like bridges or machines, chemical processes like the Zhabotinsky reaction, or biological systems like organisms or ecosystems. In organisms, rhythmic events are widespread and vary common. For example, the spectrum of rhythmic phenomena in mammals ranges from periods of some milliseconds (nerves) to periods of a day (body temperature), a month (estrous cycle in humans), a year (reproductive cycles in larger mammals), or even longer (rhythmic changes in population density). The daily change of environmental factors such as light and temperature in its 24-h structure has apparently favored those organisms that adapted physiologically to this temporal order. This is just a corollary in the time domain to the structural and functional adaptation of organisms to the environment, and not surprising. We find 24-h rhythms in the mobility or’ bioluminescence of unicellular algae, in the formation of reproductive structures of fungi, in enzyme activities and cell volume changes of plants, and in the nervous activity and sleep-wakefulness pattern of animals, to name just a few.


Circadian Rhythm Thylakoid Membrane Circadian Clock Membrane Model Temperature Compensation 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Engelmann
    • 1
  • Martin Schrempf
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of TübingenFederal Republic of Germany

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