Edinburgh Research Explorer

A Magnesium Transport Protein Related to Mammalian SLC41 and Bacterial MgtE Contributes to Circadian Timekeeping in a Unicellular Green Alga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Related Edinburgh Organisations

Open Access permissions



  • Download as Adobe PDF

    Rights statement: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

    Final published version, 575 KB, PDF document

    Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY)

Original languageEnglish
Article number158
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2019


Circadian clocks in eukaryotes involve both transcriptional-translational feedback loops, post-translational regulation, and metabolic, non-transcriptional oscillations. We recently identified the involvement of circadian oscillations in the intracellular concentrations of magnesium ions ([Mg2+]i) that were conserved in three eukaryotic kingdoms. [Mg2+]i in turn contributes to transcriptional clock properties of period and amplitude, and can function as a zeitgeber to define phase. However, the mechanism—or mechanisms—responsible for the generation of [Mg2+]i oscillations, and whether these are functionally conserved across taxonomic groups, remain elusive. We employed the cellular clock model Ostreococcus tauri to provide a first study of an MgtE domain-containing protein in the green lineage. OtMgtE shares homology with the mammalian SLC41A1 magnesium/sodium antiporter, which haspreviously been implicated in maintaining clock period. Using genetic overexpression, we found that OtMgtE contributes to both timekeeping and daily changes in [Mg2+]i. However, pharmacological experiments and protein sequence analyses indicated that critical differences exist between OtMgtE and either the ancestral MgtE channel or the mammalian SLC41 antiporters. We concluded that even though MgtE domain-containing proteins are only distantly related, these proteins retain a shared role in contributing to cellular timekeeping and the regulation of [Mg2+]i.

    Research areas

  • Ostreococcus tauri, cellular rhythms, circadian clocks, magnesium transport, transporter proteins

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 80365391