Control of Sleep by Dopaminergic Inputs to the Drosophila Mushroom Body

Front Neural Circuits. 2015 Nov 9:9:73. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2015.00073. eCollection 2015.


The Drosophila mushroom body (MB) is an associative learning network that is important for the control of sleep. We have recently identified particular intrinsic MB Kenyon cell (KC) classes that regulate sleep through synaptic activation of particular MB output neurons (MBONs) whose axons convey sleep control signals out of the MB to downstream target regions. Specifically, we found that sleep-promoting KCs increase sleep by preferentially activating cholinergic sleep-promoting MBONs, while wake-promoting KCs decrease sleep by preferentially activating glutamatergic wake-promoting MBONs. Here we use a combination of genetic and physiological approaches to identify wake-promoting dopaminergic neurons (DANs) that innervate the MB, and show that they activate wake-promoting MBONs. These studies reveal a dopaminergic sleep control mechanism that likely operates by modulation of KC-MBON microcircuits.

Keywords: Drosophila melanogaster; dopamine; mushroom body; sleep; synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Dopaminergic Neurons / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Models, Animal
  • Mushroom Bodies / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*