Lehrstuhl für Neurobiologie und Genetik

Current status of circadian light-input pathways in Drosophila


Together with Taishi Yoshii from Okayama University in Japan (who has also worked sometime in our lab and keeps strong ties), Christiane and Charlotte reviewed the current knowledge on the circadian light-input pathways of Drosophila,

Light is the most important environmental cue to entrain the circadian clock in most animals. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, the light entrainment mechanisms of the clock have been well studied. The Drosophila brain contains approximately 150 neurons that rhythmically express circadian clock genes. These neurons are called “clock neurons” and control behavioral activity rhythms. Many clock neurons express the Cryptochrome (CRY) protein, which is sensitive to UV and blue light, and thus enables clock neurons deep in the brain to directly perceive light. In addition to the CRY protein, external photoreceptors in the Drosophila eyes play an important role in circadian light-input pathways. Recent studies have provided new insights into the mechanisms that integrate these light inputs into the circadian network of the brain. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge on the light entrainment pathways in the Drosophila circadian clock.   Yoshii T, Hermann-Luibl C, Helfrich-Förster C. 2016. Circadian light-input pathways in Drosophila. Commun Integr Biol 9:e1102805.