Summary: Flavoproteins that function as circadian rhythm signaling proteins in ANIMALS and as blue-light photoreceptors in PLANTS. They are structurally-related to DNA PHOTOLYASES and it is believed that both classes of proteins may have originated from an earlier protein that played a role in protecting primitive organisms from the cyclical exposure to UV LIGHT.

Top Publications

  1. Nangle S, Xing W, Zheng N. Crystal structure of mammalian cryptochrome in complex with a small molecule competitor of its ubiquitin ligase. Cell Res. 2013;23:1417-9 pubmed publisher
  2. Krishnaiah S, Wu G, Altman B, Growe J, Rhoades S, Coldren F, et al. Clock Regulation of Metabolites Reveals Coupling between Transcription and Metabolism. Cell Metab. 2017;25:961-974.e4 pubmed publisher
    ..These results provide the first comprehensive views of circadian liver and cell-autonomous metabolism. ..
  3. Xu L, Wen B, Wang Y, Tian C, Wu M, Zhu G. Residues at a Single Site Differentiate Animal Cryptochromes from Cyclobutane Pyrimidine Dimer Photolyases by Affecting the Proteins' Preferences for Reduced FAD. Chembiochem. 2017;18:1129-1137 pubmed publisher
    b>Cryptochromes (CRYs) and photolyases belong to the cryptochrome/photolyase family (CPF). Reduced FAD is essential for photolyases to photorepair UV-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) or 6-4 photoproducts in DNA...
  4. Liu L, Shen H, Wang Y. CRY2 is suppressed by FOXM1 mediated promoter hypermethylation in breast cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2017;490:44-50 pubmed publisher
  5. Pritchett D, Reddy A. No FAD, No CRY: Redox and Circadian Rhythms. Trends Biochem Sci. 2017;42:497-499 pubmed publisher
  6. Covarrubias A, Cuevas Velazquez C, Romero Pérez P, Rendón Luna D, Chater C. Structural disorder in plant proteins: where plasticity meets sessility. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2017;74:3119-3147 pubmed publisher
  7. Wegner S, Belle M, Hughes A, Diekman C, Piggins H. Delayed Cryptochrome Degradation Asymmetrically Alters the Daily Rhythm in Suprachiasmatic Clock Neuron Excitability. J Neurosci. 2017;37:7824-7836 pubmed publisher
    Suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) neurons contain an intracellular molecular circadian clock and the Cryptochromes (CRY1/2), key transcriptional repressors of this molecular apparatus, are subject to post-translational modification through ..
  8. Tong X, Zhang D, Charney N, Jin E, VanDommelen K, Stamper K, et al. DDB1-Mediated CRY1 Degradation Promotes FOXO1-Driven Gluconeogenesis in Liver. Diabetes. 2017;66:2571-2582 pubmed publisher
    ..Thus, we have identified the DDB1-mediated CRY1 degradation as an important target of insulin action on glucose homeostasis. ..
  9. Aryal R, Kwak P, Tamayo A, Gebert M, Chiu P, Walz T, et al. Macromolecular Assemblies of the Mammalian Circadian Clock. Mol Cell. 2017;67:770-782.e6 pubmed publisher
    ..Our results define the macromolecular assemblies comprising the circadian feedback loop and provide an initial structural view of endogenous eukaryotic clock machinery. ..

More Information


  1. Holtkotte X, Ponnu J, Ahmad M, Hoecker U. The blue light-induced interaction of cryptochrome 1 with COP1 requires SPA proteins during Arabidopsis light signaling. PLoS Genet. 2017;13:e1007044 pubmed publisher
    ..While the interaction between cryptochromes and SPA is blue light-dependent, it was proposed that CRY1 interacts with COP1 constitutively, i.e...
  2. Robinson R. Chronos: stress makes the clock tick. PLoS Biol. 2014;12:e1001838 pubmed publisher
  3. Piggins H. Identifying spatial and temporal organization in the circadian clock (Commentary on Pauls et al.). Eur J Neurosci. 2014;40:2527 pubmed publisher
  4. Mteyrek A, Filipski E, Guettier C, Oklejewicz M, van der Horst G, Okyar A, et al. Critical cholangiocarcinogenesis control by cryptochrome clock genes. Int J Cancer. 2017;140:2473-2483 pubmed publisher
    ..In addition, the pronounced shift toward cholangiocarcinoma in DEN exposed Cry1-/- Cry2-/- mice revealed a critical role of the Cry clock genes in bile duct carcinogenesis. ..
  5. Patke A, Murphy P, Onat O, Krieger A, Ozcelik T, Campbell S, et al. Mutation of the Human Circadian Clock Gene CRY1 in Familial Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. Cell. 2017;169:203-215.e13 pubmed publisher
    ..6%, and reverse phenotyping of unrelated families corroborates late and/or fragmented sleep patterns in carriers, suggesting that it affects sleep behavior in a sizeable portion of the human population. ..
  6. Orth C, Niemann N, Hennig L, Essen L, Batschauer A. Hyperactivity of the Arabidopsis cryptochrome (cry1) L407F mutant is caused by a structural alteration close to the cry1 ATP-binding site. J Biol Chem. 2017;292:12906-12920 pubmed publisher
    Plant cryptochromes (cry) act as UV-A/blue light receptors...
  7. Park H, Kim N, Lee S, Kim N, Kim J, Heo W. Optogenetic protein clustering through fluorescent protein tagging and extension of CRY2. Nat Commun. 2017;8:30 pubmed publisher
    ..Here the authors identify determinants of CRY2 clustering and engineer fusion partners to modulate clustering efficiency. ..