A neuronal circuit of ∼150 neurons modulates rhythmic activity-rest behavior of Drosophila melanogaster. While it is known that coherent ∼24-hr rhythms in locomotion are brought about when 7 distinct neuronal clusters function as a network due to chemical communication amongst them, there are no reports of communication via electrical synapses made up of gap junctions. Here, we report that gap junction proteins, Innexins play crucial roles in determining the intrinsic period of activity-rest rhythms in flies. We show the presence of Innexin2 in the ventral lateral neurons, wherein RNAi-based knockdown of its expression slows down the speed of activity-rest rhythm along with alterations in the oscillation of a core-clock protein PERIOD and the output molecule pigment dispersing factor. Specifically disrupting the channel-forming ability of Innexin2 causes period lengthening, suggesting that Innexin2 may function as hemichannels or gap junctions in the clock circuit.
© 2021, JNCASR, Jakkur, Bangalore, India