March 7, 2021

Modulation of sleep-courtship balance by nutritional status in Drosophila

Sleep is essential but incompatible with other behaviors, and thus sleep drive competes with other motivations. We previously showed Drosophila males balance sleep and courtship via octopaminergic neurons that act upstream of courtship-regulating P1 neurons (Machado et al., 2017). Here we show nutrition modulates the sleep-courtship balance and identify sleep-regulatory neurons downstream of P1 neurons. Yeast-deprived males exhibited attenuated female-induced nighttime sleep loss yet normal daytime courtship, which suggests male flies consider nutritional status in deciding whether the potential benefit of pursuing female partners outweighs the cost of losing sleep. Trans-synaptic tracing and calcium imaging identified dopaminergic neurons projecting to the protocerebral bridge (DA-PB) as postsynaptic partners of P1 neurons. Activation of DA-PB neurons led to reduced sleep in normally fed but not yeast-deprived males. Additional PB-projecting neurons regulated male sleep, suggesting several groups of PB-projecting neurons act downstream of P1 neurons to mediate nutritional modulation of the sleep-courtship balance.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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