Steroid hormones are attractive candidates for transmitting long-range signals to affect behavior. These lipid-soluble molecules derived from dietary cholesterol easily penetrate the brain and act through nuclear hormone receptors (NHRs) that function as transcription factors. To determine the extent to which NHRs affect sleep: wake cycles, we knocked down each of the 18 highly conserved NHRs found in Drosophila adults and report that the ecdysone receptor (EcR) and its direct downstream NHR Eip75B (E75) act in glia to regulate the rhythm and amount of sleep. Given that ecdysone synthesis genes have little to no expression in the fly brain, ecdysone appears to act as a long-distance signal and our data suggest that it enters the brain more at night. Anti-EcR staining localizes to the cortex glia in the brain and functional screening of glial subtypes revealed that EcR functions in adult cortex glia to affect sleep. Cortex glia are implicated in lipid metabolism, which appears to be relevant for actions of ecdysone as ecdysone treatment mobilizes lipid droplets, and knockdown of glial EcR results in more lipid droplets. In addition, sleep-promoting effects of exogenous ecdysone are diminished in lsd-2 mutant flies, which are lean and deficient in lipid accumulation. We propose that ecdysone is a systemic secreted factor that modulates sleep by stimulating lipid metabolism in cortex glia.
All data analyzed and reported in this study are included in the manuscript, supplementary tables, and source data linked to figures.
- Amita Sehgal
- Amita Sehgal
- Amita Sehgal
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Mani Ramaswami, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
© 2023, Li et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Transsynaptic viral vectors provide means to gain genetic access to neurons based on synaptic connectivity and are essential tools for the dissection of neural circuit function. Among them, the retrograde monosynaptic ΔG-Rabies has been widely used in neuroscience research. A recently developed engineered version of the ΔG-Rabies, the non-toxic self-inactivating (SiR) virus, allows the long term genetic manipulation of neural circuits. However, the high mutational rate of the rabies virus poses a risk that mutations targeting the key genetic regulatory element in the SiR genome could emerge and revert it to a canonical ΔG-Rabies. Such revertant mutations have recently been identified in a SiR batch. To address the origin, incidence and relevance of these mutations, we investigated the genomic stability of SiR in vitro and in vivo. We found that “revertant” mutations are rare and accumulate only when SiR is extensively amplified in vitro, particularly in suboptimal production cell lines that have insufficient levels of TEV protease activity. Moreover, we confirmed that SiR-CRE, unlike canonical ΔG-Rab-CRE or revertant-SiR-CRE, is non-toxic and that revertant mutations do not emerge in vivo during long-term experiments.
Quantitative traits are often complex because of the contribution of many loci, with further complexity added by environmental factors. In medical research, systems genetics is a powerful approach for the study of complex traits, as it integrates intermediate phenotypes, such as RNA, protein, and metabolite levels, to understand molecular and physiological phenotypes linking discrete DNA sequence variation to complex clinical and physiological traits. The primary purpose of this review is to describe some of the resources and tools of systems genetics in humans and rodent models, so that researchers in many areas of biology and medicine can make use of the data.