Circadian Period Integrates Network Information Through Activation of the BMP Signaling Pathway

PLoS Biol. 2013 Dec;11(12):e1001733. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001733. Epub 2013 Dec 10.

Abstract

Living organisms use biological clocks to maintain their internal temporal order and anticipate daily environmental changes. In Drosophila, circadian regulation of locomotor behavior is controlled by ∼150 neurons; among them, neurons expressing the PIGMENT DISPERSING FACTOR (PDF) set the period of locomotor behavior under free-running conditions. To date, it remains unclear how individual circadian clusters integrate their activity to assemble a distinctive behavioral output. Here we show that the BONE MORPHOGENETIC PROTEIN (BMP) signaling pathway plays a crucial role in setting the circadian period in PDF neurons in the adult brain. Acute deregulation of BMP signaling causes period lengthening through regulation of dClock transcription, providing evidence for a novel function of this pathway in the adult brain. We propose that coherence in the circadian network arises from integration in PDF neurons of both the pace of the cell-autonomous molecular clock and information derived from circadian-relevant neurons through release of BMP ligands.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins / physiology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • CLOCK Proteins / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*

Substances

  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Clk protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • CLOCK Proteins