Rise and shine, little fly

Most animals sleep, but why they sleep and how the brain generates sleep is mysterious. In a recent study published in Neuron, postdoc Katherine Parisky and colleagues use genetic tools to manipulate the activity of neurons that control sleep in flies. Their results demonstrate that in the fly sleep is generated by GABAergic inhibition of a small cluster of peptidergic neurons within the circadian clock. Flies carrying mutations in this peptide, PDF, or its receptor, are hypersomnolent, similar to human narcoleptics who have defective signaling by the peptide hypocretin/orexin. These results suggest that the circuit architecture used to control arousal is ancient.

See also:

Sex-specificity of behavior in the fruit fly

What makes a male fly act like a guy?

Adriana Villella and Jeff Hall discuss the neurogenetics of courtship and mating in Drosophila in a new review.

New Sengupta Lab Website

The Sengupta Lab website has been updated with lots of new imagery. Check it out!

Annual Neuroscience Migration

As usual for this time of year, the Neuroscience labs will clear out as everyone goes to the Society for Neuroscience meeting. Leslie Griffith will be giving a Presidential Special Lecture on Sleep: Studying a Human Behavior in an Insect (Monday, 5:15 pm).

Here’s a list of Brandeis-affiliated posters and presentations.

Press from SFN:

The Self-Tuning Neuron

Gina Turrigiano discusses “The Self-Tuning Neuron” in a new review in Cell.

Mark's thesis defense

Mark Miller will present his dissertation research on Regional Specificity and Developmental Regulation of Neocortical Firing Types today at 3:10 pm in Gerstenzang 122.

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