Circadian rhythms in Neurospora: a new measurement, the reset zone.
The authors define a new feature of a circadian rhythm, the reset zone, and point out its usefulness for predictions concerning oscillator behavior. The reset zone measures the responses of a circadian system to resetting pulses. It can be easily determined from a phase transition curve (PTC), which is simply a phase response curve (PRC) replotted as new phase versus old phase (Winfree's format). The reset zone is the range of new phases seen in such a plot and has two potentially useful characteristics: its size and its midpoint. A series of experiments with Neurospora involving temperature pulses indicated that the size of the reset zone changed in a nonlinear way in response to both the duration of 40 degrees C pulses and to the magnitude of temperature change for 3-h pulses. Other existing data are replotted to show how the reset zone size varies with growth temperature and with the period of different clock mutants. Employing exclusively reset zone data within the framework of a limit cycle displacement model, an equation is formulated that predicts the relative changes in the values of state variables of the oscillator for changes in any given environmental condition, such as temperature. Examples are also drawn from other organisms, such as hamsters, Gonyalaux, Kalanchoe, and Drosophila, illustrating the usefulness of the reset zone measurement. It can be used as a numerical scale for assessing the strength of a pulse, for comparing the relative effects of a given pulse applied to different organisms or mutants, for determining the directionality of the changes in state variables produced by various types of pulses, and possibly for measuring clock amplitude.
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