Circadian rhythms are orchestrated by a master clock that emerges from a network of circadian pacemaker neurons. The master clock is synchronized to external light/dark cycles through photoentrainment, but the circuit mechanisms underlying visual photoentrainment remain largely unknown. Here, we report that Drosophila has eye-mediated photoentrainment via a parallel pacemaker neuron organization. Patch-clamp recordings of central circadian pacemaker neurons reveal that light excites most of them independently of one another. We also show that light-responding pacemaker neurons send their dendrites to a neuropil called accessary medulla (aMe), where they make monosynaptic connections with Hofbauer–Buchner eyelet photoreceptors and interneurons that transmit compound-eye signals. Laser ablation of aMe and eye removal both abolish light responses of circadian pacemaker neurons, revealing aMe as a hub to channel eye inputs to central circadian clock. Taken together, we demonstrate that the central clock receives eye inputs via hub-organized parallel circuits in Drosophila.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)