Large ventral lateral neurons modulate arousal and sleep in Drosophila

Curr Biol. 2008 Oct 28;18(20):1537-45. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.08.033. Epub 2008 Sep 4.


Background: Large ventral lateral clock neurons (lLNvs) exhibit higher daytime-light-driven spontaneous action-potential firing rates in Drosophila, coinciding with wakefulness and locomotor-activity behavior. To determine whether the lLNvs are involved in arousal and sleep/wake behavior, we examined the effects of altered electrical excitation of the LNvs.

Results: LNv-hyperexcited flies reverse the normal day-night firing pattern, showing higher lLNv firing rates at night and pigment-dispersing-factor-mediated enhancement of nocturnal locomotor-activity behavior and reduced quantity and quality of sleep. lLNv hyperexcitation impairs sensory arousal, as shown by physiological and behavioral assays. lLNv-hyperexcited flies lacking sLNvs exhibit robust hyperexcitation-induced increases in nocturnal behavior, suggesting that the sLNvs are not essential for mediation of arousal.

Conclusions: Light-activated lLNvs modulate behavioral arousal and sleep in Drosophila.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Light
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Wakefulness