Open Close
Feng, G., Zhang, J., Li, M., Shao, L., Yang, L., Song, Q., Ping, Y. (2018). Control of Sleep Onset by Shal/Kv4 Channels in Drosophila Circadian Neurons.  J. Neurosci. 38(42): 9059--9071.
FlyBase ID
Publication Type
Research paper

Sleep is highly conserved across animal species. Both wake- and sleep-promoting neurons are implicated in the regulation of wake-sleep transition at dusk in Drosophila However, little is known about how they cooperate and whether they act via different mechanisms. Here, we demonstrated that in female Drosophila, sleep onset was specifically delayed by blocking the Shaker cognate L channels <up>Shal; also known as voltage-gated K+ channel 4 (Kv4)</up> in wake-promoting cells, including large ventral lateral neurons (l-LNvs) and pars intercerebralis (PI), but not in sleep-promoting dorsal neurons (DN1s). Delayed sleep onset was also observed in males by blocking Kv4 activity in wake-promoting neurons. Electrophysiological recordings show that Kv4 channels contribute A-type currents in LNvs and PI cells, but are much less conspicuous in DN1s. Interestingly, blocking Kv4 in wake-promoting neurons preferentially increased firing rates at dusk ∼ZT13, when the resting membrane potentials and firing rates were at lower levels. Furthermore, pigment-dispersing factor (PDF) is essential for the regulation of sleep onset by Kv4 in l-LNvs, and downregulation of PDF receptor (PDFR) in PI neurons advanced sleep onset, indicating Kv4 controls sleep onset via regulating PDF/PDFR signaling in wake-promoting neurons. We propose that Kv4 acts as a sleep onset controller by suppressing membrane excitability in a clock-dependent manner to balance the wake-sleep transition at dusk. Our results have important implications for the understanding and treatment of sleep disorders such as insomnia.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT The mechanisms by which our brains reversibly switch from waking to sleep state remain an unanswered and intriguing question in biological research. In this study, we identified that Shal/Kv4, a well known voltage-gated K+ channel, acts as a controller of wake-sleep transition at dusk in Drosophila circadian neurons. We find that interference of Kv4 function with a dominant-negative form (DNKv4) in subsets of circadian neurons specifically disrupts sleep onset at dusk, although Kv4 itself does not exhibit circadian oscillation. Kv4 preferentially downregulates neuronal firings at ZT9-ZT17, supporting that it plays an essential role in wake-sleep transition at dusk. Our findings may help understand and eventually treat sleep disorders such as insomnia.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC6705980 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
Associated Information
Associated Files
Other Information
Secondary IDs
    Language of Publication
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    J. Neurosci.
    Journal of Neuroscience
    Publication Year
    0270-6474 1529-2401
    Data From Reference