Neuronal machinery of sleep homeostasis in Drosophila

Neuron. 2014 Feb 19;81(4):860-72. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2013.12.013.


Sleep is under homeostatic control, but the mechanisms that sense sleep need and correct sleep deficits remain unknown. Here, we report that sleep-promoting neurons with projections to the dorsal fan-shaped body (FB) form the output arm of Drosophila's sleep homeostat. Homeostatic sleep control requires the Rho-GTPase-activating protein encoded by the crossveinless-c (cv-c) gene in order to transduce sleep pressure into increased electrical excitability of dorsal FB neurons. cv-c mutants exhibit decreased sleep time, diminished sleep rebound, and memory deficits comparable to those after sleep loss. Targeted ablation and rescue of Cv-c in sleep-control neurons of the dorsal FB impair and restore, respectively, normal sleep patterns. Sleep deprivation increases the excitability of dorsal FB neurons, but this homeostatic adjustment is disrupted in short-sleeping cv-c mutants. Sleep pressure thus shifts the input-output function of sleep-promoting neurons toward heightened activity by modulating ion channel function in a mechanism dependent on Cv-c.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / genetics*
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Sleep / genetics*
  • Sleep Deprivation / genetics
  • Sleep Deprivation / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins
  • cv-c protein, Drosophila
  • rho GTPase-activating protein