Structural basis of the day-night transition in a bacterial circadian clock
Circadian clocks are ubiquitous timing systems that induce rhythms of biological activities in synchrony with night and day. In cyanobacteria, timing is generated by a posttranslational clock consisting of KaiA, KaiB, and KaiC proteins and a set of output signaling proteins, SasA and CikA, which transduce this rhythm to control gene expression. Here, we describe crystal and nuclear magnetic resonance structures of KaiB-KaiC,KaiA-KaiB-KaiC, and CikA-KaiB complexes. They reveal how the metamorphic properties of KaiB, a protein that adopts two distinct folds, and the post–adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis state of KaiC create a hub around which nighttime signaling events revolve, including inactivation of KaiA and reciprocal regulation of the mutually antagonistic signaling proteins, SasA and CikA.