Sleep in Drosophila is regulated by adult mushroom bodies

Nature. 2006 Jun 8;441(7094):757-60. doi: 10.1038/nature04811.


Sleep is one of the few major whole-organ phenomena for which no function and no underlying mechanism have been conclusively demonstrated. Sleep could result from global changes in the brain during wakefulness or it could be regulated by specific loci that recruit the rest of the brain into the electrical and metabolic states characteristic of sleep. Here we address this issue by exploiting the genetic tractability of the fruitfly, Drosophila melanogaster, which exhibits the hallmarks of vertebrate sleep. We show that large changes in sleep are achieved by spatial and temporal enhancement of cyclic-AMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) activity specifically in the adult mushroom bodies of Drosophila. Other manipulations of the mushroom bodies, such as electrical silencing, increasing excitation or ablation, also alter sleep. These results link sleep regulation to an anatomical locus known to be involved in learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / biosynthesis
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / drug effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Homeostasis
  • Learning / physiology
  • Mifepristone / pharmacology
  • Models, Animal
  • Mushroom Bodies / drug effects
  • Mushroom Bodies / physiology*
  • Sleep / drug effects
  • Sleep / genetics
  • Sleep / physiology*


  • Mifepristone
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases