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Li, M.T., Cao, L.H., Xiao, N., Tang, M., Deng, B., Yang, T., Yoshii, T., Luo, D.G. (2018). Hub-organized parallel circuits of central circadian pacemaker neurons for visual photoentrainment in Drosophila.  Nat. Commun. 9(1): 4247.
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Research paper

Circadian rhythms are orchestrated by a master clock that emerges from a network of circadian pacemaker neurons. The master clock is synchronized to external light/dark cycles through photoentrainment, but the circuit mechanisms underlying visual photoentrainment remain largely unknown. Here, we report that Drosophila has eye-mediated photoentrainment via a parallel pacemaker neuron organization. Patch-clamp recordings of central circadian pacemaker neurons reveal that light excites most of them independently of one another. We also show that light-responding pacemaker neurons send their dendrites to a neuropil called accessary medulla (aMe), where they make monosynaptic connections with Hofbauer-Buchner eyelet photoreceptors and interneurons that transmit compound-eye signals. Laser ablation of aMe and eye removal both abolish light responses of circadian pacemaker neurons, revealing aMe as a hub to channel eye inputs to central circadian clock. Taken together, we demonstrate that the central clock receives eye inputs via hub-organized parallel circuits in Drosophila.

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PMC6185921 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Nat. Commun.
    Nature communications
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