Circadian pacemaker neurons transmit and modulate visual information to control a rapid behavioral response

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Circadian pacemaker neurons contain a molecular clock that oscillates with a period of ∼24 hr, controlling circadian rhythms of behavior. Pacemaker neurons respond to visual system inputs for clock resetting, but, unlike other neurons, have not been reported to transmit rapid signals to their targets. Here we show that pacemaker neurons are required to mediate a rapid behavior. The Drosophila larval visual system, Bolwig's organ (BO), projects to larval pacemaker neurons to entrain their clock. BO also mediates larval photophobic behavior. We found that ablation or electrical silencing of larval pacemaker neurons abolished light avoidance. Thus, circadian pacemaker neurons receive input from BO not only to reset the clock but also to transmit rapid photophobic signals. Furthermore, as clock gene mutations also affect photophobicity, the pacemaker neurons modulate the sensitivity of larvae to light, generating a circadian rhythm in visual sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
JournalNeuron
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 20 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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