The Role of Glia Clocks in the Regulation of Sleep in Drosophila melanogaster

J Neurosci. 2022 Sep 7;42(36):6848-6860. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2340-21.2022.


In Drosophila melanogaster, the pacemaker located in the brain plays the main role in maintaining circadian rhythms; however, peripheral oscillators including glial cells, are also crucial components of the circadian network. In the present study, we investigated an impact of oscillators located in astrocyte-like glia, the chiasm giant glia of the optic lobe, epithelial and subperineurial glia on sleep of Drosophila males. We described that oscillators located in astrocyte-like glia and chiasm giant glia are necessary to maintain daily changes in clock neurons arborizations, while those located in epithelial glia regulate amplitude of these changes. Finally, we showed that communication between glia and neurons through tripartite synapses formed by epithelial glia and, in effect, neurotransmission regulation plays important role in wake-promoting during the day.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Circadian clock or pacemaker regulates many aspects of animals' physiology and behavior. The pacemaker is located in the brain and is composed of neurons. However, there are also additional oscillators, called peripheral clocks, which synchronize the main clock. Despite the critical role of glia in the clock machinery, little is known which type of glia houses peripheral oscillators and how they affect neuronal clocks. This study using Drosophila shows that oscillators in specific glia types maintain awakeness during the day by regulating the daily plasticity of clock neurons.

Keywords: circadian clock; insect behavior; neuronal plasticity; sleep.