Title

Identification of a Circadian Output Circuit for Rest:Activity Rhythms in Drosophilia

Document Type

Journal Article

Role

Author

Journal Title

Cell

Volume

157

Issue

3

First Page

689

Last Page

701

Publication Date

2014

Abstract

Though much is known about the cellular and molecular components of the circadian clock, output pathways that couple clock cells to overt behaviors have not been identified. We conducted a screen for circadian-relevant neurons in the Drosophila brain and report here that cells of the pars intercerebralis (PI), a functional homolog of the mammalian hypothalamus, comprise an important component of the circadian output pathway for rest:activity rhythms. GFP reconstitution across synaptic partners (GRASP) analysis demonstrates that PI cells are connected to the clock through a polysynaptic circuit extending from pacemaker cells to PI neurons. Molecular profiling of relevant PI cells identified the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) homolog, DH44, as a circadian output molecule that is specifically expressed by PI neurons and is required for normal rest:activity rhythms. Notably, selective activation or ablation of just six DH44+ PI cells causes arrhythmicity. These findings delineate a circuit through which clock cells can modulate locomotor rhythms.

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