Sleep is regulated by a circadian clock that times sleep and wake to specific times of day and a homeostat that drives sleep as a function of prior wakefulness . To analyze the role of the circadian clock, we have used the fruit fly Drosophila . Flies display the core behavioral features of sleep, including relative immobility, elevated arousal thresholds, and homeostatic regulation [2, 3]. We assessed sleep-wake modulation by a core set of circadian pacemaker neurons that express the neuropeptide PDF. We find that disruption of PDF function increases sleep during the late night in light:dark and the first subjective day of constant darkness. Flies deploy genetic and neurotransmitter pathways to regulate sleep that are similar to those of their mammalian counterparts, including GABA . We find that RNA interference-mediated knockdown of the GABAA receptor gene, Resistant to dieldrin (Rdl), in PDF neurons reduces sleep, consistent with a role for GABA in inhibiting PDF neuron function. Patch-clamp electrophysiology reveals GABA-activated picrotoxin-sensitive chloride currents on PDF+ neurons. In addition, RDL is detectable most strongly on the large subset of PDF+ pacemaker neurons. These results suggest that GABAergic inhibition of arousal-promoting PDF neurons is an important mode of sleep-wake regulation in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)