Photic input pathways that mediate theDrosophila larval response to light and circadian rhythmicity are developmentally related but functionally distinct Academic Article uri icon

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  • The Drosophila melanogaster larval photosensory organ that mediates the response to light consists of bilaterally symmetrical clusters of 12 photoreceptors. These are distinguished on the basis of expression of the rhodopsins Rh5 and Rh6. The Rh6-expressing cells correspond to the Hofbauer-Buchner (H-B) eyelet found later in the posterior margin of the adult compound eye and recently shown to function as an input pathway in the entrainment of circadian rhythmicity in adult Drosophila. In addition, the axons of the larval photoreceptors are found in intimate association with a subset of the main circadian pacemaker neurons located in the developing accessory medulla, the small ventral lateral neurons (LNv). The observed spatial overlap between components of the circadian circuitry, input pathway, and pacemaker neurons-and the larval visual organ-suggest a functional relationship between these two photosensory input pathways. In this study we determined the requirement of specific rhodopsin-expressing photoreceptors including the presumptive H-B eyelet and pacemaker neurons in the larval locomotory response to visual stimuli. Our results demonstrate that two of the most important components of the neuronal circuitry underlying circadian rhythmicity in Drosophila, namely, the extraretinal H-B cluster and the circadian pacemakers, while in intimate association with the larval visual system are not required for the larval motor response to light.


  • Hassan, Jana
  • Iyengar, Balaji
  • Scantlebury, Nadia
  • Rodriguez Moncalvo, Veronica
  • Campos, Ana Regina

publication date

  • January 17, 2005

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