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PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36477. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036477. Epub 2012 May 4.

Ih current is necessary to maintain normal dopamine fluctuations and sleep consolidation in Drosophila.

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  • 1Departamento de Biología, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.

Abstract

HCN channels are becoming pharmacological targets mainly in cardiac diseases. But apart from their well-known role in heart pacemaking, these channels are widely expressed in the nervous system where they contribute to the neuron firing pattern. Consequently, abolishing Ih current might have detrimental consequences in a big repertoire of behavioral traits. Several studies in mammals have identified the Ih current as an important determinant of the firing activity of dopaminergic neurons, and recent evidences link alterations in this current to various dopamine-related disorders. We used the model organism Drosophila melanogaster to investigate how lack of Ih current affects dopamine levels and the behavioral consequences in the sleep:activity pattern. Unlike mammals, in Drosophila there is only one gene encoding HCN channels. We generated a deficiency of the DmIh core gene region and measured, by HPLC, levels of dopamine. Our data demonstrate daily variations of dopamine in wild-type fly heads. Lack of Ih current dramatically alters dopamine pattern, but different mechanisms seem to operate during light and dark conditions. Behaviorally, DmIh mutant flies display alterations in the rest:activity pattern, and altered circadian rhythms. Our data strongly suggest that Ih current is necessary to prevent dopamine overproduction at dark, while light input allows cycling of dopamine in an Ih current dependent manner. Moreover, lack of Ih current results in behavioral defects that are consistent with altered dopamine levels.

PMID:
22574167
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3344876
Free PMC Article
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