Operation of a Homeostatic Sleep Switch
Diogo Pimentel Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, UK
CNC Auditorium (2nd floor, FMUC, Pólo I)
Host: Carlos B. Duarte

“Operation of a Homeostatic Sleep Switch”

Sleep disconnects animals from the external world, at considerable risks and costs that must be offset by a vital benefit. Insight into the nature of this mysterious benefit will likely come from understanding sleep homeostasis: to monitor sleep need, an internal bookkeeper must track physiological changes that are intimately linked to the core function of sleep. In Drosophila, a crucial component of the machinery for sleep homeostasis is a cluster of neurons innervating the dorsal fan-shaped body (dFB) of the central complex. Artificial activation of these cells induces sleep, whereas reductions in excitability cause insomnia. I will present evidence that homeostatic sleep control works by switching these sleep-promoting neurons between active and quiescent states. State switching involves the antagonistic modulation of two identified potassium conductances by the neuromodulator dopamine.
Funded by ERDF - European Regional Development Fund through COMPETE 2020 and National Funds via FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, under projects POCI-01-0145-FEDER-007440 e UIDB/04539/2020.

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