Rachel S. Edgar 1 , Edward W. Green 2 , Yuwei Zhao 3 , Gerben van Ooijen 4 , Maria Olmedo 6 , Ximing Qin 3 , Yao Xu 3 , Min Pan 7 , Utham K. Valekunja 1 , Kevin A. Feeney 1 , Elizabeth S. Maywood 8 , Michael H. Hastings 8 , Nitin S. Baliga 7 , Martha Merrow 6 , Andrew J. Millar 4 , 5 , Carl H. Johnson 3 , Charalambos P. Kyriacou 2 , John S. O’Neill 1 , * , Akhilesh B. Reddy 1 , *
16 May 2012
Cellular life emerged ~3.7 billion years ago. With scant exception, terrestrial organisms have evolved under predictable daily cycles due to the Earth’s rotation. The advantage conferred upon organisms that anticipate such environmental cycles has driven the evolution of endogenous circadian rhythms that tune internal physiology to external conditions. The molecular phylogeny of mechanisms driving these rhythms has been difficult to dissect because identified clock genes and proteins are not conserved across the domains of life: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukaryota. Here we show that oxidation-reduction cycles of peroxiredoxin proteins constitute a universal marker for circadian rhythms in all domains of life, by characterising their oscillations in a variety of model organisms. Furthermore, we explore the interconnectivity between these metabolic cycles and transcription-translation feedback loops of the clockwork in each system. Our results suggest an intimate co-evolution of cellular time-keeping with redox homeostatic mechanisms following the Great Oxidation Event ~2.5 billion years ago.