Indexed on: 29 Apr '08Published on: 29 Apr '08Published in: Neuron
The neuropeptide PDF is released by sixteen clock neurons in Drosophila and helps maintain circadian activity rhythms by coordinating a network of approximately 150 neuronal clocks. Whether PDF acts directly on elements of this neural network remains unknown. We address this question by adapting Epac1-camps, a genetically encoded cAMP FRET sensor, for use in the living brain. We find that a subset of the PDF-expressing neurons respond to PDF with long-lasting cAMP increases and confirm that such responses require the PDF receptor. In contrast, an unrelated Drosophila neuropeptide, DH31, stimulates large cAMP increases in all PDF-expressing clock neurons. Thus, the network of approximately 150 clock neurons displays widespread, though not uniform, PDF receptivity. This work introduces a sensitive means of measuring cAMP changes in a living brain with subcellular resolution. Specifically, it experimentally confirms the longstanding hypothesis that PDF is a direct modulator of most neurons in the Drosophila clock network.