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Down-regulation of a cytokine secreted from peripheral fat bodies improves visual attention while reducing sleep in Drosophila

by Deniz Ertekin, Leonie Kirszenblat, Richard Faville, Bruno van Swinderen

Sleep is vital for survival. Yet under environmentally challenging conditions, such as starvation, animals suppress their need for sleep. Interestingly, starvation-induced sleep loss does not evoke a subsequent sleep rebound. Little is known about how starvation-induced sleep deprivation differs from other types of sleep loss, or why some sleep functions become dispensable during starvation. Here, we demonstrate that down-regulation of the secreted cytokine unpaired 2 (upd2) in Drosophila flies may mimic a starved-like state. We used a genetic knockdown strategy to investigate the consequences of upd2 on visual attention and sleep in otherwise well-fed flies, thereby sidestepping the negative side effects of undernourishment. We find that knockdown of upd2 in the fat body (FB) is sufficient to suppress sleep and promote feeding-related behaviors while also improving selective visual attention. Furthermore, we show that this peripheral signal is integrated in the fly brain via insulin-expressing cells. Together, these findings identify a role for peripheral tissue-to-brain interactions in the simultaneous regulation of sleep quality and attention, to potentially promote adaptive behaviors necessary for survival in hungry animals.

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Plos Journal

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