Widespread changes in synaptic markers as a function of sleep and wakefulness in Drosophila

Science. 2009 Apr 3;324(5923):109-12. doi: 10.1126/science.1166673.


Sleep is universal, strictly regulated, and necessary for cognition. Why this is so remains a mystery, although recent work suggests that sleep, memory, and plasticity are linked. However, little is known about how wakefulness and sleep affect synapses. Using Western blots and confocal microscopy in Drosophila, we found that protein levels of key components of central synapses were high after waking and low after sleep. These changes were related to behavioral state rather than time of day and occurred in all major areas of the Drosophila brain. The decrease of synaptic markers during sleep was progressive, and sleep was necessary for their decline. Thus, sleep may be involved in maintaining synaptic homeostasis altered by waking activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Models, Animal
  • Qa-SNARE Proteins / metabolism
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapsins / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Wakefulness / physiology*


  • BRP protein, Drosophila
  • Csp protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Qa-SNARE Proteins
  • Synapsins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • dlg1 protein, Drosophila