Communication within the clock network is essential for normal rhythmic activity patterns. Globally interfering with neuronal excitability or neuropeptide signalling strongly affects the rhythms; but so far a timed manipulation of specific selected neurons was not possible. We aim to use current and newly developed optogenetic methods to manipulate the neuronal activity and cAMP-levels of selected clock neurons and to investigate the consequences on clock protein levels and rhythmic behaviour. Furthermore, we aim to develop new tools that are excitable by longer wavelengths outside the spectral sensitivity of the fly’s photoreceptor cryptochrome.
Specific aims of the project are:
- Recording behavioural rhythms while manipulating the electrical activity of specific clock neurons
- Characterization of red-shifted channelrhodopsins with higher light sensitivity and improved expression
- Improving retinal supply for the microbial rhodopsins
- Modulation of cAMP in clock neurons by light
- Enabling the technical requirements for optogenetic stimulation