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J Exp Biol. 2013 Oct 15;216(Pt 20):3837-43. doi: 10.1242/jeb.085563.

GABA(B) receptors play an essential role in maintaining sleep during the second half of the night in Drosophila melanogaster.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology and Genetics, Theodor-Boveri Institute, Biocentre, University of Würzburg, Am Hubland, Würzburg D-97074, Germany.

Abstract

GABAergic signalling is important for normal sleep in humans and flies. Here we advance the current understanding of GABAergic modulation of daily sleep patterns by focusing on the role of slow metabotropic GABAB receptors in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We asked whether GABAB-R2 receptors are regulatory elements in sleep regulation in addition to the already identified fast ionotropic Rdl GABAA receptors. By immunocytochemical and reporter-based techniques we show that the pigment dispersing factor (PDF)-positive ventrolateral clock neurons (LNv) express GABAB-R2 receptors. Downregulation of GABAB-R2 receptors in the large PDF neurons (l-LNv) by RNAi reduced sleep maintenance in the second half of the night, whereas sleep latency at the beginning of the night that was previously shown to depend on ionotropic Rdl GABAA receptors remained unaltered. Our results confirm the role of the l-LNv neurons as an important part of the sleep circuit in D. melanogaster and also identify the GABAB-R2 receptors as the thus far missing component in GABA-signalling that is essential for sleep maintenance. Despite the significant effects on sleep, we did not observe any changes in circadian behaviour in flies with downregulated GABAB-R2 receptors, indicating that the regulation of sleep maintenance via l-LNv neurons is independent of their function in the circadian clock circuit.

KEYWORDS:

PDF neurons; circadian clock neurons; metabotropic GABA receptors

PMID:
24068350
DOI:
10.1242/jeb.085563
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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