Blocking Endocytosis in Drosophila's Circadian Pacemaker Neurons Interferes With the Endogenous Clock in a PDF-dependent Way

Chronobiol Int. 2009 Oct;26(7):1307-22. doi: 10.3109/07420520903433315.


The neuropeptide pigment-dispersing factor (PDF) plays an essential role in the circadian clock of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, but many details of PDF signaling in the clock network are still unknown. We tried to interfere with PDF signaling by blocking the GTPase Shibire in PDF neurons. Shibire is an ortholog of the mammalian Dynamins and is essential for endocytosis of clathrin-coated vesicles at the plasma membrane. Such endocytosis is used for neurotransmitter reuptake by presynaptic neurons, which is a prerequisite of synaptic vesicle recycling, and receptor-mediated endocytosis in the postsynaptic neuron, which leads to signal termination. By blocking Shibire function via overexpression of a dominant negative mutant form of Shibire in PDF neurons, we slowed down the behavioral rhythm by 3 h. This effect was absent in PDF receptor null mutants, indicating that we interfered with PDF receptor-mediated endocytosis. Because we obtained similar behavioral phenotypes by increasing the PDF level in regions close to PDF neurons, we conclude that blocking Shibire did prolong PDF signaling in the neurons that respond to PDF. Obviously, terminating the PDF signaling via receptor-mediated endocytosis is a crucial step in determining the period of behavioral rhythms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Brain / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Dynamins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Dynamins / genetics
  • Dynamins / physiology
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Mutation
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Photoperiod
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • PDFR protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • pdf protein, Drosophila
  • Dynamins
  • shi protein, Drosophila