Neural clocks and Neuropeptide F/Y regulate circadian gene expression in a peripheral metabolic tissue

Elife. 2016 Apr 14;5:e13552. doi: 10.7554/eLife.13552.


Metabolic homeostasis requires coordination between circadian clocks in different tissues. Also, systemic signals appear to be required for some transcriptional rhythms in the mammalian liver and the Drosophila fat body. Here we show that free-running oscillations of the fat body clock require clock function in the PDF-positive cells of the fly brain. Interestingly, rhythmic expression of the cytochrome P450 transcripts, sex-specific enzyme 1 (sxe1) and Cyp6a21, which cycle in the fat body independently of the local clock, depends upon clocks in neurons expressing neuropeptide F (NPF). NPF signaling itself is required to drive cycling of sxe1 and Cyp6a21 in the fat body, and its mammalian ortholog, Npy, functions similarly to regulate cycling of cytochrome P450 genes in the mouse liver. These data highlight the importance of neuronal clocks for peripheral rhythms, particularly in a specific detoxification pathway, and identify a novel and conserved role for NPF/Npy in circadian rhythms.

Keywords: D. melanogaster; circadian rhythm; cytochrome P450; evolutionary biology; genomics; metabolism; mouse; neural clocks; neuropeptide F; neuropeptide Y; neuroscience.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Clocks*
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fat Body / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Metabolism
  • Nervous System Physiological Phenomena*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • neuropeptide F, Drosophila