University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications


A role for Drosophila ATX2 in activation of PER translation and circadian behavior

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Emery Lab; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience Program

Publication Date


Document Type



Circadian Rhythm; Drosophila; Cation Transport Proteins


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


A negative transcriptional feedback loop generates circadian rhythms in Drosophila. PERIOD (PER) is a critical state-variable in this mechanism, and its abundance is tightly regulated. We found that the Drosophila homolog of ATAXIN-2 (ATX2)--an RNA-binding protein implicated in human neurodegenerative diseases--was required for circadian locomotor behavior. ATX2 was necessary for PER accumulation in circadian pacemaker neurons and thus determined period length of circadian behavior. ATX2 was required for the function of TWENTY-FOUR (TYF), a crucial activator of PER translation. ATX2 formed a complex with TYF and promoted its interaction with polyadenylate-binding protein (PABP). Our work uncovers a role for ATX2 in circadian timing and reveals that this protein functions as an activator of PER translation in circadian neurons.

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Citation: Science. 2013 May 17;340(6134):879-82. doi: 10.1126/science.1234746. Link to article on publisher's site


Co-author Jinli Ling is a student in the Program in Neuroscience in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS) at UMass Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Science (New York, N.Y.)

PubMed ID