Quasimodo mediates daily and acute light effects on Drosophila clock neuron excitability.

We have characterized a light-input pathway regulating Drosophila clock neuron excitability. The molecular clock drives rhythmic electrical excitability of clock neurons, and we show that the recently discovered light-input factor Quasimodo (Qsm) regulates this variation, presumably via an Na+, K+, Cl- cotransporter (NKCC) and the Shaw K+ channel (dKV3.1). Because ...
of light-dependent degradation of the clock protein Timeless (Tim), constant illumination (LL) leads to a breakdown of molecular and behavioral rhythms. Both overexpression (OX) and knockdown (RNAi) of qsm, NKCC, or Shaw led to robust LL rhythmicity. Whole-cell recordings of the large ventral lateral neurons (l-LNv) showed that altering Qsm levels reduced the daily variation in neuronal activity: qsmOX led to a constitutive less active, night-like state, and qsmRNAi led to a more active, day-like state. Qsm also affected daily changes in K+ currents and the GABA reversal potential, suggesting a role in modifying membrane currents and GABA responses in a daily fashion, potentially modulating light arousal and input to the clock. When directly challenged with blue light, wild-type l-LNvs responded with increased firing at night and no net response during the day, whereas altering Qsm, NKKC, or Shaw levels abolished these day/night differences. Finally, coexpression of ShawOX and NKCCRNAi in a qsm mutant background restored LL-induced behavioral arrhythmicity and wild-type neuronal activity patterns, suggesting that the three genes operate in the same pathway. We propose that Qsm affects both daily and acute light effects in l-LNvs probably acting on Shaw and NKCC.
Mesh Terms:
Alleles, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Circadian Clocks, Drosophila Proteins, Drosophila melanogaster, GPI-Linked Proteins, Gene Knockdown Techniques, Genotype, Ion Channel Gating, Light, Models, Biological, Neurons, Protein Binding, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
Date: Dec. 22, 2015
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