054 | Exploring the role of the chloride channel ClC-a in Drosophila sleep circuits


Author: Agustina Bruno Vignolo | Email: agustinabrunovignolo@gmail.com

Agustina Bruno-Vignolo , Nara I. Muraro

1° Biomedicine Research Institute of Buenos Aires-CONICET-Partner Institute of the Max Planck Society Godoy Cruz 2390, C1425FQD, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The circadian oscillator of Drosophila is composed of approximately 150 clock neurons that express a set of molecular components, called clock genes, which through negative feedback loops coordinate the oscillation of transcription and translation of certain genes and proteins. A subgroup of clock neurons, called ventral lateral neurons (LNvs) is characterized by the expression of the neuropeptide Pigment Dispersing Factor (PDF) and play a fundamental role in the control of alertness. LNvs are essential for the regulation of sleep/wake behavior via a yet not fully understood neuronal circuit. Previous work from our laboratory has identified ClC-a, a voltage-dependent chloride channel, as a potential key element in the physiology of the LNvs. This channel has not been explored in Drosophila adult neurons before. Therefore, the main objective of this project is to characterize the role of neuronal CIC-a and its mechanism of action. Our initial findings indicate that downregulation of ClC-a in LNvs increases sleep in female flies. Consistently, downregulation of ClC-a in LNvs and glial cells reduces latency to siesta sleep in both females and males. In addition, our experiments suggest that ClC-a may be involved in the detection of sensory information, such as light and mechanical stimuli. Future work will explore how ClC-a affects LNvs physiology using patch-clamp electrophysiological approaches.