Electrophysiological correlates of rest and activity in Drosophila melanogaster

Curr Biol. 2002 Nov 19;12(22):1934-40. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(02)01300-3.


Extended periods of rest in Drosophila melanogaster resemble mammalian sleep states in that they are characterized by heightened arousal thresholds and specific alterations in gene expression. Defined as inactivity periods spanning 5 or more min, amounts of this sleep-like state are, as in mammals, sensitive to prior amounts of waking activity, time of day, and pharmacological intervention. Clearly recognizable changes in the pattern and amount of brain electrical activity accompany changes in motor activity and arousal thresholds originally used to identify mammalian sleeping behavior. Electroencephalograms (EEGs) and/or local field potentials (LFPs) are now widely used to quantify sleep state amounts and define types of sleep. Thus, slow-wave sleep (SWS) is characterized by EEG spindles and large-amplitude delta-frequency (0-3.5 Hz) waves. Rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep is characterized by irregular gamma-frequency cortical EEG patterns and rhythmic theta-frequency (5-9 Hz) hippocampal EEG activity. It is unknown whether rest and activity in Drosophila are associated with distinct electrophysiological correlates. To address this issue, we monitored motor activity levels and recorded LFPs in the medial brain between the mushroom bodies, structures implicated in the modulation of locomotor activity, of Drosophila. The results indicate that LFPs can be reliably recorded from the brains of awake, moving fruit flies, that targeted genetic manipulations can be used to localize sources of LFP activity, and that brain electrical activity of Drosophila is reliably correlated with activity state.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization
  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Mammals
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena
  • Rest / physiology*
  • Sleep / physiology
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Theta Rhythm