Neurospora crassa has been utilized as a model organism for studying biological, regulatory, and circadian rhythms for over 50 years. These circadian cycles are driven at the molecular level by gene transcription events to prepare for environmental changes. N. crassa is typically found on woody biomass and is commonly studied on agar-containing medium which mimics its natural environment. We report a novel method for disrupting circadian gene transcription while maintaining light responsiveness in N. crassa when held in a steady metabolic state using bioreactors. The arrhythmic transcription of core circadian genes and downstream clock-controlled genes was observed in constant darkness (DD) as determined by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). Nearly all core circadian clock genes were up-regulated upon exposure to light during 11hr light/dark cycle experiments under identical conditions. Our results demonstrate that the natural timing of the robust circadian clock in N. crassa can be disrupted in the dark when maintained in a consistent metabolic state. Thus, these data lead to a path for the production of industrial scale enzymes in the model system, N. crassa, by removing the endogenous negative feedback regulation by the circadian oscillator.
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