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May 30, 2017
PloS One
In Drosophila, neuropeptide Pigment Dispersing Factor (PDF) is expressed in small and large ventral Lateral Neurons (sLNv and lLNv), among which sLNv are critical for activity rhythms in constant darkness. Studies show that this is mediated by rhythmic accumulation and likely secretion of PDF from sLNv dorsal projections, which in turn synchronises molecular oscillations in downstream circadian neurons. Using targeted expression of a neurodegenerative protein Huntingtin in LNv, we evoke a selective loss of neuropeptide PDF and clock protein PERIOD from sLNv soma. However, PDF is not lost from sLNv dorsal projections and lLNv. These flies are behaviourally arrhythmic in constant darkness despite persistence of PDF oscillations in sLNv dorsal projections and synchronous PERIOD oscillations in downstream circadian neurons. We find that PDF oscillations in sLNv dorsal projections are not sufficient for sustenance of activity rhythms in constant darkness and this is suggestive of an additional component that is possibly dependent on sLNv molecular clock and PDF in sLNv soma. Additionally, despite loss of PERIOD in sLNv, their activity rhythms entrain to light/dark cycles indicating that sLNv molecular clocks are not necessary for entrainment. Under constant light, these flies lack PDF from both soma and dorsal projections of sLNv, and when subjected to light/dark cycles, show morning and evening anticipation and accurately phased morning and evening peaks. Thus, under light/dark cycles, PDF in sLNv is not necessary for morning anticipation.

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