Blue light regulates many physiological processes in fungi, but their photoreceptors are not known. In Neurospora crassa, all light responses depend on the Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain-containing transcription factor white collar-1 (wc-1). By removing the WC-1 light, oxygen, or voltage domain, a specialized PAS domain that binds flavin mononucleotide in plant phototropins, we show that light responses are abolished, including light entrainment of the circadian clock. However, the WC-1-mediated dark activation of frq remains normal in this mutant, and the circadian clock can be entrained by temperature. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the purified Neurospora WC-1-WC-2 protein complex is associated with stoichiometric amounts of the chromophore flavin-adenine dinucleotide. Together, these observations suggest that WC-1 is the blue-light photoreceptor for the circadian clock and other light responses in Neurospora.
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