Sleep, a reversible quiescent state found in both invertebrate and vertebrate animals, disconnects animals from their environment and is highly regulated for coordination with wakeful activities, such as reproduction. The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, has proven to be a valuable model for studying the regulation of sleep by circadian clock and homeostatic mechanisms. Here, we demonstrate that the sex peptide receptor (SPR) of Drosophila, known for its role in female reproduction, is also important in stabilizing sleep in both males and females. Mutants lacking either the SPR or its central ligand, myoinhibitory peptide (MIP), fall asleep normally, but have difficulty in maintaining a sleep-like state. Our analyses have mapped the SPR sleep function to pigment dispersing factor (pdf) neurons, an arousal center in the insect brain. MIP downregulates intracellular cAMP levels in pdf neurons through the SPR. MIP is released centrally before and during night-time sleep, when the sleep drive is elevated. Sleep deprivation during the night facilitates MIP secretion from specific brain neurons innervating pdf neurons. Moreover, flies lacking either SPR or MIP cannot recover sleep after the night-time sleep deprivation. These results delineate a central neuropeptide circuit that stabilizes the sleep state by feeding a slow-acting inhibitory input into the arousal system and plays an important role in sleep homeostasis.
SIFamide receptor (SIFR) is a Drosophila G protein-coupled receptor for the neuropeptide SIFamide (SIFa). Although the sequence and spatial expression of SIFa are evolutionarily conserved among insect species, the physiological function of SIFa/SIFR signaling remains elusive. Here, we provide genetic evidence that SIFa and SIFR promote sleep in Drosophila. Either genetic ablation of SIFa-expressing neurons in the pars intercerebralis (PI) or pan-neuronal depletion of SIFa expression shortened baseline sleep and reduced sleep-bout length, suggesting that it caused sleep fragmentation. Consistently, RNA interference- mediated knockdown of SIFR expression caused short sleep phenotypes as observed in SIFa-ablated or depleted flies. Using a panel of neuron-specific Gal4 drivers, we further mapped SIFR effects to subsets of PI neurons. Taken together, these results reveal a novel physiological role of the neuropeptide SIFa/SIFR pathway to regulate sleep through sleep-promoting neural circuits in the PI of adult fly brains.
Histamine and its two receptors, histamine-gated chloride channel subunit 1 (HisCl1) and ora transientless (Ort), are known to control photoreception and temperature sensing in Drosophila. However, histamine signaling in the context of neural circuitry for sleep-wake behaviors has not yet been examined in detail. Here, we obtained mutant flies with compromised or enhanced histamine signaling and tested their baseline sleep. Hypomorphic mutations in histidine decarboxylase (HDC), an enzyme catalyzing the conversion from histidine to histamine, caused an increase in sleep duration. Interestingly, hisCl1 mutants but not ort mutants showed long-sleep phenotypes similar to those in hdc mutants. Increased sleep duration in hisCl1 mutants was rescued by overexpressing hisCl1 in circadian pacemaker neurons expressing a neuropeptide pigment dispersing factor (PDF). Consistently, RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated depletion of hisCl1 in PDF neurons was sufficient to mimic hisCl1 mutant phenotypes, suggesting that PDF neurons are crucial for sleep regulation by the histamine-HisCl1 signaling. Finally, either hisCl1 mutation or genetic ablation of PDF neurons dampened wake-promoting effects of elevated histamine signaling via direct histamine administration. Taken together, these data clearly demonstrate that the histamine-HisCl1 receptor axis can activate and maintain the wake state in Drosophila and that wake-activating signals may travel via the PDF neurons.
Daily oscillations of gene expression underlie circadian behaviours in multicellular organisms. While attention has been focused on transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms, other post-transcriptional modes have been less clearly delineated. Here we report mutants of a novel Drosophila gene twenty-four (tyf) that show weak behavioural rhythms. Weak rhythms are accompanied by marked reductions in the levels of the clock protein Period (PER) as well as more modest effects on Timeless (TIM). Nonetheless, PER induction in pacemaker neurons can rescue tyf mutant rhythms. TYF associates with a 5-cap-binding complex, poly(A)-binding protein (PABP), as well as per and tim transcripts. Furthermore, TYF activates reporter expression when tethered to reporter messenger RNA even in vitro. Taken together, these data indicate that TYF potently activates PER translation in pacemaker neurons to sustain robust rhythms, revealing a new and important role for translational control in the Drosophila circadian clock.
The ability to respond to environmental temperature variation is essential for survival in animals. Flies show robust temperature-preference behaviour (TPB) to find optimal temperatures. Recently, we have shown that Drosophila mushroom body (MB) functions as a center controlling TPB. However, neuromodulators that control the TPB in MB remain unknown. To identify the functions of dopamine in TPB, we have conducted various genetic studies in Drosophila. Inhibition of dopamine biosynthesis by genetic mutations or treatment with chemical inhibitors caused flies to prefer temperatures colder than normal. We also found that dopaminergic neurons are involved in TPB regulation, as the targeted inactivation of dopaminergic neurons by expression of a potassium channel (Kir2.1) induced flies with the loss of cold avoidance. Consistently, the mutant flies for dopamine receptor gene (DopR) also showed a cold temperature preference, which was rescued by MB-specific expression of DopR. Based on these results, we concluded that dopamine in MB is a key component in the homeostatic temperature control of Drosophila. The current findings will provide important bases to understand the logic of thermosensation and temperature preference decision in Drosophila.
During latent infection, latency-associated nuclear antigen (LANA) of Kaposis sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) plays important roles in episomal persistence and replication. Several host factors are associated with KSHV latent replication. Here, we show that the catalytic subunit of DNA protein kinase (DNA-PKcs), Ku70, and Ku86 bind the N-terminal region of LANA. LANA was phosphorylated by DNA-PK and overexpression of Ku70, but not Ku86, impaired transient replication. The efficiency of transient replication was significantly increased in the HCT116 (Ku86 +/-) cell line, compared to the HCT116 (Ku86 +/+) cell line, suggesting that the DNA-PK/Ku complex negatively regulates KSHV latent replication.
Reversible phosphorylation of clock proteins plays an important role in circadian timekeeping as it is a key post-translational mechanism that regulates the activity, stability and subcellular localization of core clock proteins. The kinase DOUBLETIME (DBT), a Drosophila ortholog of mammalian casein kinase Iepsilon, regulates circadian phosphorylation of two essential clock proteins, PERIOD and dCLOCK. We present evidence that Par Domain Protein 1epsilon (PDP1epsilon), a transcription factor and mediator of clock output in Drosophila, is phosphorylated in vivo and in cultured cells by DBT activity. We also demonstrate that DBT interacts with PDP1epsilon and promotes its degradation by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway in cultured cells. In addition, PDP1epsilon nuclear localization is decreased by dbt RNA interference in S2 cell system. These results suggest that DBT regulates phosphorylation, stability and localization of PDP1epsilon, and that it has multiple targets in the Drosophila circadian system.
A variety of synthetic carriers, such as cationic polymers and lipids, have been used as nonviral carriers for small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery. Although siRNA polyplexes and lipoplexes exhibited good gene silencing efficiencies, they often showed serious cytotoxicities, which are not useful for clinical applications. A double-stranded RNA binding cellular protein with highly specific siRNA binding property and noncytotoxicity was used for siRNA delivery.
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