Persistence of morning anticipation behavior and high amplitude morning startle response following functional loss of small ventral lateral neurons in Drosophila.
- Author(s): Sheeba, Vasu
- Fogle, Keri J
- Holmes, Todd C
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011628
Light-activated large ventral lateral clock neurons (large LNv) modulate behavioral arousal and sleep in Drosophila while their counterparts, the small LNv (s-LNv) are important for circadian behavior. Recently, it has been proposed that the pattern of day-night locomotor behavioral activity is mediated by two anatomically distinct oscillators composed of a morning oscillator in the small LNv and an evening oscillator in the lateral dorsal neurons and an undefined number of dorsal pacemaker neurons. This contrasts with a circuit described by network models which are not as anatomically constrained. By selectively ablating the small LNv while sparing the large LNv, we tested the relative importance of the small and large LNv for regulating morning behavior of animals living in standard light/dark cycles. Behavioral anticipation of the onset of morning and the high amplitude morning startle response which coincides with light onset are preserved in small LNv functionally-ablated animals. However, the amplitude of the morning behavioral peak is severely attenuated in these animals during the transition from regular light/dark cycles to constant darkness, providing further support that small LNv are necessary for circadian behavior. The large LNv, in combination with the network of other circadian neurons, in the absence of functional small LNv are sufficient for the morning anticipation and the high amplitude light-activated morning startle response.