What keeps the brain awake

Credit: Potdar & Vasu, eNeuro (2018)

A study of fruit flies has identified a pathway in the brain that keeps the animals from falling asleep during the day. The research, published in eNeuro, may have implications for understanding the sleep/wake cycle in mammals, which shares similar features.

Previous studies have mapped the brain circuits that induce sleep at the beginning of the night and suppress sleep at the end of the night. However, it remains unclear how the brain maintains wakefulness during the day.

Sheetal Potdar and Sheeba Vasu find that a subset of dopaminergic neurons are inhibited during the day by the light-responsive neuropeptide Pigment Dispersing Factor (PDF) and its receptor (PDFR). Reducing expression of the PDFR-encoding gene in this subset increased daytime sleep while increasing its expression decreased daytime sleep. The researchers propose that high daytime levels of PDF promote wakefulness by blocking the activity of sleep promoting dopaminergic neurons.


Article: Wakefulness is promoted during daytime by PDFR signalling to dopaminergic neurons in Drosophila melanogaster
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0129-18.2018
Corresponding author: Sheeba Vasu (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, India), [email protected]

About eNeuro

eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience's open-access journal launched in 2014, publishes rigorous neuroscience research with double-blind peer review that masks the identity of both the authors and reviewers, minimizing the potential for implicit biases. eNeuro is distinguished by a broader scope and balanced perspective achieved by publishing negative results, failure to replicate or replication studies. New research, computational neuroscience, theories and methods are also published.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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       <h4>Related Journal Article</h4>http://dx.doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0129-18.2018