May 18, 2021

Circadian pacemaker neurons display co-phasic rhythms in basal calcium level and in fast calcium fluctuations

<p>Circadian pacemaker neurons in the Drosophila brain display daily rhythms in the levels of intracellular calcium. These calcium rhythms are driven by molecular clocks and are required for normal circadian behavior. To study their biological basis, we employed genetic manipulations in conjunction with in vivo light-sheet microscopy to measure calcium dynamics in individual pacemaker neurons over complete 24-hour periods. We found co-phasic daily rhythms in basal calcium levels and in high frequency calcium fluctuations. Further we found that the rhythms of basal calcium levels require the activity of the IP3R, a channel that mediates calcium fluxes from internal endoplasmic reticulum (ER) calcium stores. Independently, the rhythms of fast calcium fluctuations required the T-type voltage-gated calcium channel, a conductance that mediates extracellular calcium influx. These results suggest that Drosophila molecular clocks regulate IP3R and T-type channels to generate coupled rhythms in basal calcium and in fast calcium fluctuations, respectively. We propose that both internal and external calcium fluxes are essential for circadian pacemaker neurons to provide rhythmic outputs, and thereby regulate the activities of downstream brain centers.</p>
<p> bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience</p>
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